I believe it's rare for someone to travel to Las Vegas for any length of time and return without placing a bet or even setting foot in a casino. That was my situation last week when I took my mother to Vegas to see my children and celebrate her 95th birthday! We had a wonderful celebration for her earlier this month with family in the Chicago area. But I think she was really looking forward to seeing her grandchildren in Las Vegas, whom she hadn't seen in a few years. Traveling with a 95 year old can be challenging, even with someone as amazing as my mom! I was determined to have a good attitude and make sure she had a great time. I lost my patience a couple of times, but generally, I stayed positive most of the trip.
One of my concerns was getting her back with everything she left with. On that front we did relatively well. The only item she lost was an earring. Her cane was lost for almost 24 hours but we were able recover it because someone turned it in at our hotel. My other concern was making sure she had fun, but not overdoing it, she is 95 after all! On that score we probably overdid it a bit. Mom was very sore the first night. She even thought she might have to go to the emergency room. Thankfully, that wasn't necessary. After that, I tried to better limit her activity level.
The first day, after a 90 minute delay at O'Hare and the usual riggers of air travel (thank God for wheelchairs at the airport), we arrived tired but excited. My oldest son picked us up, we checked into our hotel then he took us to his new condo in the Summerlin area in Vegas. He's in a great location, right next to a mountain but still close to everything. His condo is very nice and I can see his personality coming out in the décor. The three of us had a great visit. The problem was that his unit is on the 2nd floor with no elevator and only outside stairs. Fine for him and I but not so good for mom. She really struggled getting up those stairs even with our help. It didn't help that it was a virtual hurricane that night. It wasn't a picnic getting down either! The stairs are the likely cause of her near emergency room experience later that night.
Day two was great! We met up with both of my sons and went to the oldest's job to meet someone he speaks of often. Then we went to the Mob Museum in downtown Vegas. Everyone enjoyed it, and using her walker, mom even went through one floor of the three floor museum. I wish we had more time to explore further. After that, a gormet lunch (In N Out Burger) and a drive through Red Rock Canyon which was beautiful! Mom loved it! Last on the agenda we met up with my daughter and both son's and their significant other's for dinner at El Dorado Cantina. The food was good and we had a great time!
On day three, my oldest son who drove us everywhere on this trip (God bless you Paul!), took us to the Bellagio so mom could see the lovely glass art work in the lobby. There was also a beautiful area decorated for Chinese New Year. Then to the Luxor to meet up with my younger son and his girlfriend to see the Titanic exhibit. Most of us had seen it before but it was good to see it again! Unfortunately, this involved a lot of walking and it wiped mom out! We decided to take her back to the hotel and get some rest, rather than take her with us to the Chicago concert at the Venetian that night. On the way to the hotel we stopped for another gormet meal, this time at Jack in the Box, a childhood favorite of mine. Mom and I had tacos and enjoyed them greatly! Then my oldest son and I met up with my daughter and her boyfriend for the Chicago concert. They put on a great show! They're still one of my favorite bands! I'm glad we didn't take mom. There was a lot of walking and she would not have done well with all the stairs and escalators. While we all enjoyed the show, I couldn't believe that my kids were not familiar with most of the songs. How can that be? Oh yeah, most of Chicago's songs were released before my kids were born. God I'm old!!!
The next day we flew home. Again, Paul picked us up and got us to the airport. We had an uneventful flight home. My wife picked us up and everything went smoothly. All I could think was, We did it!
Here are my conclusions from the trip:
1. A 95 year old can fly cross country and with the help of wheelchairs at the airport survive the trip.
2. Unless we carry her up, my mom will never again set foot in Paul's condo. Just too many steps for her!
3. The February weather in Vegas is nothing to write home about.
4. Red Rock Canyon is gorgeous and a must see when going to Vegas.
5. I still love In N Out Burger and Jack in the Box tacos.
6. The group, Chicago still has their fastball!
7. There is a lot more to do in Las Vegas than gamble and party. Not that there is anything wrong with gambling and partying!
8. I have good kids. I'm proud of them and they're doing well!
9. My mom had a very happy 95th birthday! One she will always remember!