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Selfishness + A hasty decision = Reality

By Ben Husband

I was so excited to take off for a week to return to Las Vegas. I love the hotels, fine dining, late nights with friends and most of all, an escape from reality. I think that's the norm for anyone who goes on vacation, but for me, when it comes to Vegas, it's always been one of those "special getaways."

I was especially excited this time around to have four days to myself. Before I met Kelley, I would often take four or five days to myself and fly somewhere, set myself up in a nice hotel room and enjoy my independence at an entirely different level. So, having that for the first time in a long time was very exciting and something I was looking forward to.

But when I got to Vegas last Monday, it didn't take long for me to realize I made a terrible mistake. The original plan was for me and Kelley and four other couples to fly up Friday. Instead, I took the entire week off and drove up Monday, a selfish decision that occasionally weighed over me like a dark cloud and I found myself struggling to truly enjoy my independence they way I normally do. It didn't take me long to realize why — I missed my son.

I hadn't been away from Elliott before this. Every now and then, my mom or sister will take him for the night so Kelley and I can go out with friends or just have a night at home to ourselves. I foolishly thought simple instances such as those were enough to prepare me for an entire week without him. Again, a foolish, foolish decision. Kelley had jokingly suggested to me a few times this wasn't going to be as easy as I thought it would be. She went on a three-day spa trip in January and said it was torture, something I clearly did not take note of. She encouraged me that if I wanted to go early and spend some time to myself to do so, yet, she also warned me and I failed, because of my selfishness, to let that register and receive the true message she was trying to get across to me. It was a lesson, I'm sure she thought, I was going to have to learn myself.

I arrived in Vegas, checked into my room at the New York New York. Nice room. Great view of the strip. I was stoked. Dropped my bags. Changed my clothes and made my way to the casino for some blackjack and then some shopping. I won $105. Had a gin and tonic, a Nathan's hot dog and did some shopping. The entire time, though, I found myself feeling a little sad. And then it happened. Kelley texted me a picture of Elliott in his high chair with a caption that read "Hi daddy. I miss you." It was then, Day 1 and three hours into Sin City, I realized just how much I missed Elliott and how incredibly selfish I was to come up to Vegas so early when I didn't really need to. It was one of those defining moments in life that came over me like a tidal wave. I should have just flown up with Kelley and the rest of the group, yet I sacraficed time with my boy to fill my own wants. I didn't want to admit to Kelley she was right. I thought I needed to be strong and have fun. I managed to flood my brain with positive thoughts of how "I deserve some time to myself" and that "Every parent deserves time away." It worked for awhile — with the the help of a couple more gin and tonics — and I made it through my first day without Elliott. Tuesday, it really hit me. Kelley knew I was down, and knew why. She kept encouraging me to enjoy my time to myself and that her and Elliott were just fine, which helped some, but the bottom line was I missed my son and I found myself trying to continuously justify my decision to leave as early as I did. I was convinced Elliott was going to forget me.

I made it through the week with several ups and downs. When Kelley and the rest of the gang arrived Friday, it was like a breath of fresh air for me. I was with family and friends and the next two days were as great as I expected — amazingly awesome. When Sunday rolled around, I was incredibly happy to hit the road and get home to Elliott. Seven hours later, I walked into our front door and Elliott was in my sister's arms. I teared up, smiled and said "Hi Boo Bear. Daddy's home." He smiled, buried his head into her neck for a second and then whipped around, extended his arms and reached for me. I hugged him. Whispered to him how much I loved him. I sat him down and he raised his arms up, stomped his feet and shouted "Da, Da, Da, Da!"

Me and Elliott soon after I got home.

To my extreme bliss, my son did not forget who I was. In fact, it was obvious he missed me as much as I missed him and for the first time in a week, I went to bed with only happiness swimming in my head. I was home. My son was 10 feet away from me with the same thoughts.

It was great to get away and it was even better to be in Vegas with so many great friends, but I realized that the days of me picking up and leaving need to be on hold for awhile, even though it was just that once. I would never take my son to Vegas this young, but there are a million other places we can take him.

Most our friends in this group are parents with children ranging from 9 to 14. They've surely been down this road before, and I'm sure some of them warned me about leaving Elliott, too. But, I guess it took my selfishness to learn one valuable lesson — I'm never letting my selfishness get in the way of time with my son ever again. I can't and I won't.
 

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