The Christmas break around here was distinctly divided into two segments of before and after the big day, with one being pretty crappy and the other pretty wonderful.
The before was punctuated by E coming home and her sister losing it the night she got home with a full blown panic attack with her screaming on the kitchen floor, my mom getting ambulanced to the hospital with a possible stroke, CA threatening to keep the little girls from fully participating in our family celebrations (and the drama and stress associated with that), and the normal stress involved with preparing for Christmas (shopping, cleaning, cooking, fun for kids, etc.) I really didn't think we were going to make it through the day intact as KM glared and grumped her way around our house on Christmas Eve and poor little L and D spiked fevers.
Somehow it turned into a nice Christmas. With Motrin and a positive attitude, L made it through the day. All the kids really loved all their presents and were appreciative. This is especially nice to see with the girls since they notoriously complain about not getting all they wanted. Christmas has been really hard on our family since the accident and each year the girls seem to relax a little more. There were lots of laughs and I even got an impromptu hug of thanks from E which was lovely and surprising since she withholds physical forms of affection from us regularly.
The Saturday after Christmas D had a basketball tournament and we put E on a plane to head south to Florida for her college swim team training trip. And then on Sunday we packed up the other kids and headed to Florida ourselves for a week of sun, Disney and family time together without all the crazy of our regular schedule.
What a wonderful trip we had. The kids were such good travelers. Family memories were made. We had the perfect balance of theme parks, skating, herping, swimming and just relaxing. Even the driving to and from was fine without too many complaints. I read good books. K got to golf. On the two days we hit the parks, the magic of Disney swept everyone up and the kids jumped into the imagination and fun with both feet. Even on days where the weather wasn't ideal we made it work and fun was found.
So like most things around here, we had a holiday break of two extremes. Some really bad and some really good. I'm glad the good was the tail end. I've been a lot more relaxed the last day or so since we got back. Even the snow and low temps outside (with an 2.5 hour round trip commute to school this morning) hasn't really stressed me out. I can still feel an underlying angst caused by family drama, all my responsibilities, grief and marital issues, but the week of relaxation has tampered it down a little further from the surface.
Sorry for such a long break from writing. See paragraph two and add lingering effects of the shingles and you can see why my writing fell to the bottom of my list of priorities. I hope to get back to some more writing in the coming months. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday break with your families and wish you a very happy New Year.