A couple weeks ago we took our son, Trevor, to Las Vegas to celebrate his twenty first birthday. Getting to celebrate milestones with adult children is new and fun and different and exciting. Gone are the days of themed parties like Buzz Lightyear and Spiderman, with cupcakes and party hats, party games and pinatas. And I’ll miss that. But it has been replaced by something new. Sharing. Camaraderie. And common experiences.
He turned twenty-one during the school year at a time inconvenient for a Vegas vacation but the very day he finished his finals we drove to the airport and headed to Las Vegas. He got to choose a friend to join him, and chose his girlfriend of two years, Cayden.
Jason and I have been going to Las Vegas for many years as a way to unwind and reconnect in our marriage. (“Sin City” may sound like a strange place to try to strengthen the covenant of marriage, but for us it has always been about the weather, the pampering, the endless choices in food and entertainment, the affordability, and the proximity to home.)
Our kids asked and asked when they could come with us and we always said we would try to take them when they turned twenty one.
HERE’S WHAT WE DID:
We headed to Mandalay Bay. Our most favorite of all the Las Vegas hotels we’ve visited. I love being at the end of “The Strip” away from the big crowds. And since vacation to me means relaxing at the pool more than gambling, shopping, or even sightseeing, we always try to stay at Mandalay Bay where we can choose between a lazy river, a wave pool, a wading pool, or just regular old swimming pools. I couldn’t wait to share it with Trevor and Cayden.
We sunbathed, we floated, we raced each other around the lazy river. Some of us (not me) body surfed the waves. We sat in the wading pool and caught up on the year. We talked. We shared. We let the stress of life and school float away. We met new people and made new friends.
We showed the “kids,” as we affectionately refer to them, our favorite happy hour at the House of Blues on the edge of the casino floor of Mandalay Bay where we adventurously tried alligator nuggets and figured out through trial and error that the giant brisket nachos with chicken added and the brisket served on the side was our favorite. And we sent them to Treasure Island to see the Cirque du Soleil show, Mystere.
We watched the final game of the NBA season while eating guacamole by the bowlful along with street tacos to die for from Cadillac Mexican Kitchen at the Golden Nugget. People crowded around the edge of the bar to catch the end of the game. Cheering and clapping and jumping up and down. The excitement was palpable and just made it even more fun.
On our last night after toasting to twenty-one years on this earth with champagne that sent up by the hotel when they heard we were celebrating, we ventured all the way to the sixty fourth floor of the Delano to the Skyfall Lounge for amazing views and photo opportunities of the entire strip and lights.
HERE’S WHAT I LEARNED:
Adult children are a whole new kind of fun. They are smart and seasoned, and the vacation experience with these “kids” has changed. I no longer have to worry about helping them pack or who is eating what. No longer have to plan games and activities with alternating down time. It has changed. They were okay with just relaxing. Just being. Just taking it all in. Enjoying. Amplifying the very idea of a vacation. It was the best.
And I can’t wait to go back and do it all over again in 2021 after the next one turns twenty-one!