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(This was previously published on my former blog July 28, 2011.  Do the math.  Yes – we ARE older now…)

OK – so there’s that whole Vegas thing… You know – the “what happens here stays here” thingie.

So my husband and I recently turned 50 and our kids were turning 21 (Yep – they be twins).  Huge family milestones; right?  Now we all know that there is no better city on the planet for turning 21… at least that’s the general consensus of those who are actually turning 21.  If you fall into that 50-something range… well, let’s just say that napping is a requirement.  Seriously.  And I …can’t…nap.  “Houston – we have a problem”. 

What a city, though.  Wow.  Where else can you visit a New York deli, stroll the cobblestone streets of Paris and dine by candlelight next to the gondolas in Italy – all in the course of a day.  And then there’s the cocktail.  There are literally people with cocktails in their hand 24 hours a day.   We were up until 3:00 or 4:00 AM every morning; and everywhere you looked during those wee hours… there were cocktails.  After a “full night’s sleep” of approximately 3-4 hours (See “nap requirement” above), we would  manuever our way down the hallway towards the elevator around 7:00 AM for coffee; only to see people stumbling out of the elevator – cocktail in hand.   Guess they decided it was finally time for a little “shut-eye“.  We gambled.  Well, actually, THEY gambled (the boys).  I’m way too cheap for that.  We (the girls) had a cocktail.  We walked the streets and “people watched” (Oh my, my, my…some FANTABULOUS people watching!).   They gambled.  We shopped.  We hit the pool.  We all had another cocktail.  We watched as the Bellagio fountains performed their mesmerizing dance to the crooning sound of Mr. Las Vegas himself – my man – Frank Sinatra.  Pure magic, I tell you.  We all had a cocktail.  They gambled.  We saw two “shows” –  the “Blue Man Group” (fantastic!) and David Spade.  They gambled.  We all had a cocktail.  Three full days.  In Vegas time, that equals about four years. 

Perhaps it was the constant bright, flashing lights, the relentless “ding, ding, ding, DING, WHISTLE, DING…” of the almost 200,000 slot machines (Thank you, “Ask Jeeves”), or the delicious “Pineapple Chipotle Margarita” (complete with Chipotle hot sauce!)  that I was sipping from the “Rhumba Bar”…… but I started having “flashbacks”.   My BABIES were turning into ADULTS!!!  What??  How did that happen?  It suddenly felt like I had blinked…and time had somehow passed me by.  Kind of like a “Sleeping Beauty” kind of thing… minus the “beauty” part and that feeling of a really good night’s sleep.  “Someone bring me another cocktail.  NOW!”  And then something suddenly occurred to me.  Nothing had passed me by.  I have enjoyed every part of the past 21 years.  (fine print…OK – Let’s be honest. Some more than others.)  As a family, we have filled our hearts, until they are overflowing, with memories on top of memories – and they are a part of us.  They are what binds the four of us together – and no-one, and nothing, can every take that away. Those memories belong to us… and only us.  It was then that I realized that we were in the perfect place to celebrate their 21st  birthday.  As a family, we have LIVED the “Las Vegas mantra” our entire life… “What happens here (in our hearts); stays here.”

And so at 12:00 midnight, Vegas time, 2:00 AM Kansas City time (by chance – the exact time they were born), we toasted their transition into adulthood… “21”; with all the joy and pride in the world.  We laughed.  We remembered.  We reminisced.

Cheers to you, Vegas.  “What happens here, stays here.”