My Christmas vacation was everything I had hoped for. The weather was sunny and beautiful; the little resort town of McCall festive and friendly; we had amazing meals together; opened presents (the best part was watching my 10-year-old nephew's obvious delight with his gifts); and started the first ever family pool tournament (my brother's idea). All but one of my sisters was there, and we had visits from two of my stepbrothers and their families (something we had never been able to do before). There was lots of love and laughter and visiting for four glorious days.
I had developed some congestion in my chest as a result of the bad air quality at home (worse in the nation; not something to be proud of) before I left. The congestion quickly cleared up in the cold, clear, clean air of the mountains, but I ended up with laryngitis, and was reduced to mostly whispering. The only down side of the trip. But that didn't stop me from enjoying one of my favorite things to do with my dad and siblings: walking together in the snowy woods with my 84-year-old dad. Such a treat! We're grateful that he's still in good health and spirits.
It was so nice to get to put aside my role as wife, caregiver, and mother for a few days to focus on being a daughter, sister, and aunt. I came home feeling relaxed and refreshed (even with no voice).
David, unfortunately, didn't have quite as good a time. He was all right when I left, and was looking forward to some visiting and down time. He had a couple of unpleasant conversations where others vented their problems to him. Not a good idea at Christmas when he's sensitive anyway. When I came home he was mildly delusional, but trying hard to maintain his sanity. It took a day or so for him to work through it.
The change back to "normal" life after such a stress-free time has been difficult for me. I have a hard time going from being around positive-thinking people to someone who tends to be negative much of the time. I found some comfort, though, in talking to others on a forum for bipolar spouses. My family tries to understand bipolar disorder, and it helps that one of my brothers is a caseworker in the mental health field, but it's one of those things you have to experience to really understand.