Vacation without my son is gonna be tough
Next week, I will periodically struggle through extreme bliss and complete sadness.
I will be going back to one of my favorite spots on the face of the earth when I go to Las Vegas with a large group of friends (bliss), but this will be the first time I will be without Elliott for an extended period of time (sadness). Five couples are going to Vegas for a bachelor-bachelorette party for our good friends.
I'm driving up Monday to meet my stepbrother from Denver for a couple of days before the rest of the gang flies down later in the week. We booked this trip in January, not long after some of us stepped off a plane following a long Christmas vacation in Mexico. In January, I didn't really think about how hard it would be to be without my son. I gotta be honest, as Monday rapidly approaches, that emotions of knowing I won't see my son's smile, hear him laugh, other than through Skype, is starting to sink in. I'm going to miss him dearly, but, this is something I feel I need.
I wouldn't say I need a break from Elliott, because I don't. Elliott is without question the best thing to ever happened to me, next to Kelley. Every day with Elliott is a new experience I cherish and never take advantage of. Since Elliott was born, our lives have been a hectic, come-and-go fast-paced way of living. For Kelley and I, this has been a first that you just can't prepare for. Our lives pre-Elliott were the exact opposite of what they are now.
One thing we missed is traveling. We had our first chance to get on a plane in December when several couples flew to Mexico for Christmas. Elliott was 9-months old and we felt it would be safe to take him and that he would enjoy it, which he did. However, as fun as it was to be on the beach with him and so many friends and family, it wasn't nearly as relaxing as we both thought it would be for just us. It was still fun, but still a lot of work for these parents.
So when the Vegas thing came up in early January,we knew Elliott would be well over a year old, walking and would be OK spending the an extended period of time with family members. But more than anything, these tired parents agreed that by then, we would deserve a getaway, just like any parents, novice or veteran.
There's just something about Vegas that just won't leave me alone. The itch to go back to Sin City again and again never dies down and the sounds of slot machines is tattooed into my memory bank forever.
The Strip — Las Vegas Boulevard — is, in my opinion, a stretch of heaven. The way the neon signs light up the Nevada sky, the incredible hotels (architecture inside and out), shops and restaurants and the history of Vegas are all just some of the things that has made it one of my favorite vacation spots. Maybe it has something to do with the fact my late twin brother, Drew, lived there for years or the the fact Kelley and I got married there in 2007. Whatever the reason may be, I freakin' love Las Vegas.
And it's even better with friends.
The last time Kelley and I went to Vegas (2010), we went with four other couples. We were celebrating a friend's 40th birthday and a couple's 16th wedding anniversary. We ate like kings and queens and the guys and I played blackjack at the Casino Roayle for hours and hours that culminated in Bill and I both hitting a double black jack on our final hand.
Two things I am especially looking forward to on this Vegas adventure is The Mob Museum and Gordon Ramsay's Steak, which recently opened at the Paris. And I can't wait to be standing in the lobby at Bally's waiting to hug and kiss my wife and welcome the rest of the gang for what I'm sure is going to be another epic weekend with unbelievable friends.
Going on vacation next week comes at a cost, though. I will be without Elliott.
It's going to be rough … very rough. I know this won't be the first time, though. There will no doubt be times in the future where mom and dad will need to get away for a weekend or when Elliott will want to go to summer camp. This, I know is just the beginning of what I'm sure will be many more moments like this for all three of us.
I remember our doctors telling us shortly after Elliott was born that Kelley and I need to take time to ourselves, even if that meant a weekend. Back then, we couldn't imagine doing this. But, as Elliott has gotten older, developed his own sense of independence and establishing such a wonderfully loving and strong relationship with my parents and sisters, who love him just as much, has made Kelley and I going to Vegas a little more easy.
My plan this weekend is to spend as much time with Elliott as I can. I'm gonna give him so many hugs and kisses and tell him every chance I get how much I love him and how proud I am of him. My biggest fear is that I go away from a week and he forgets who I am. It's a feeling that almost led me to consider canceling this trip a month ago. But I know deep down inside that parents deserve time away from time to time. We took him to Mexico and are planning a trip to Ireland, but for now, mom and dad need a few days to themselves.
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. Even though I'm going to my favorite place and I'll be with great friends and my beautiful wife, my heart will be aching each day to get back to my wonderful son.
Daddy is going to miss the heck out of you, boo bear.