My birthday milestone was an excuse for a family reunion. I pictured three generations enjoying a Florida beach and gathering seashells. Can you hear the screech of protest tires? Here’s how we ended up in Las Vegas.
Florida to Las Vegas Is a Long Tale Trail
One family member: “Florida is too far. We can’t take off that much time.”
Me: “I understand. So, how about somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, close to home?”
And then from another loved one: “Remember the altitude sickness and migraine headaches I had the last time we visited Colorado?”
Yes, I remembered.
What to do? Our memory-making destination needed to be reachable for all, at sea level, and affordable.
“How about Las Vegas?” I was thinking cheap airfare, food, and lodging; sunshine; and low altitude. Just give me a pool!
At first, came the sound of silence again.
Then, one by one, adults offered unanimous approval.
Last month, our family of nine gathered in Las Vegas to celebrate my birthday three months ahead of schedule. We found a family resort with no casinos. Lovely Tahiti Village even offered a lazy river for tubing, sandy beach, and pool.
God’s Bear Hug
My birthday cup was full, I thought, and then I was bear hugged by God right in The Venetian! Let me tell you there is no greater experience than a God hug, and I wish I could transfer one to you, but that’s not how it works. He’ll deal with you as is fitting on his timetable. But here is my hug experience:
Part of The Venentian is a mall called The Grand Canal Shoppes. The stores look like Venice nestled along a canal complete with gondola rides under a faux, but tasteful, blue sky. It is probably the closest I will come to the real thing, and the granddaughters and I wanted to do it.
The family split into two groups.
Potty Break. No! Two Potty Breaks!
My group included favorite daughter-in-law and the three- and six-year-old granddaughters. Just as we were getting into the roped off line the six-year-old winced and whispered: “I have to go to the bathroom.”
The two of us hoofed it and returned to our group. Then, the three-year-old was holding her crotch plaintively.
Not sympathetically, I said, “You’ll have to hold it.”
Her little face melted me, and I pleaded, “Can you hold it?”
“She can’t,” said Mom.
We got out of line. The gatekeeper was understanding.
By the time we were back with empty bladders we were assigned gondolier Francesca, from Naples, Italy.
Her accent gilded the glide down faux Venice. Francesca was so sweet to the children, even singing an Italian nursery song. Translation, she said: “Papa, I have to go pee pee.”
As our gondola entered a circle of water in a holding area, I noticed the Japanese woman at the railing snapping photos of us. The sunset’s window light did create a soft glow, I thought.
And then, suddenly I was spiritually bear hugged. I felt total love, total peace. All was well. And all is well. I was in a thin space between heaven and earth. Time seemed irrelevant. Love embraced everything. I was teary-eyed from this surprising birthday touch from God. No words can capture the experience, but it was very good and too quickly over.
“Happy Birthday, Grandma!” declared the six-year-old.
In that circle of water, Francesca sang Happy Birthday in Italian to the German American “Nona.” She then rowed us to the dock, and we hugged when I got off the boat.
All was well indeed.