My flight there was delayed three hours due to high winds in Vegas. No big deal, delays seem to be the norm these days. Unfortunately.
My facial was not quite as relaxing as I'd hoped, because the woman went to town on my face doing extractions with her evil little tool. She did a good job removing all the invisible black heads I didn't know I had, but it was the most painful facial I've ever had in my life and left me with marks on my face. Exactly what you want the day before your birthday. I guess I should have known better, but I've never had a facial like that. I had a fantastic time shopping with my mom. I felt like a kid again. We shared a fitting room, tried things on, and I handed some of them over to her at the register to pay. Thanks mom! The shopping marathon continued after a pit stop for lunch.
So this is the part where things started going differently than I expected. My mom and I had just opened a bottle of wine, and were chatting in the living room, until she decided she needed to camp out in her little office off the kitchen and get busy with paying bills. The doorbell rings, and my mom insists that I answer the door. It's probably a neighbor she said. Well, it was not the neighbor. I checked the peephole and all I could see was the back of somebodies head, so I opened the door and guess who turns around? My big sister Dani who lives in South Carolina. My big sister, who I haven't seen since October last year, and whom I didn't know when I'd be seeing again was standing there at the door. My first reaction, after screaming "Oh my gosh, what are you doing here?" was basically to start bawling because I could not believe my eyes. My sister doesn't get to travel a lot, so it was a huge deal that she made this happen. I could not believe that she was here for my birthday, and I was just so so happy to see her. The good news is that she made it, but the bad news is that her flight path was delayed by 8 hours so she was super exhausted, and had missed out on some of the fun stuff we had planned for that day. I have a love hate relationship with the airlines. Mostly hate at the moment.
Later on that night, I got another shock. My dad walks in, and right behind him is my little sis all the way from San Francisco, whom I also had no idea would be making an appearance. Just last week, she asked me if I was excited about the trip, and there she was...on the trip! More happy tears!! I kept looking for my niece and nephew, but they left the kiddos at home and flew into to town for 48 hours so they could be there on my Birthday. I know I already said this, but I couldn't believe it. I could barely believe that the five of us were all together again, and that they had gone to all this trouble to be there on my Birthday.
I didn't know what was going to happen with the show because MJ had only purchased three tickets for The Beetles Love Cirque Du Soleil at Mirage, but now there were five of us. Nobody seemed too concerned about that minor detail. MJ was quick to ask me via text if we needed more tickets, but mom said she'd take care of it. Later that day I explained to my sisters that we probably wouldn't be sitting together since the tickets were purchased in two sets.
Little did I know.
|Big sis, Middle Sis, Little Sis|
The four of us stopped at Golden Spoon for yogurt first because it's Dani's favorite. The parking situation at those huge hotels is so confusing that it was a group effort figuring out where the lot was, but we made it and we were lucky enough to catch one of the beautiful Bellagio water shows on the way to New York New York where they have the Pizza pretzels I love so much. Turns out, they taste better when you are drunk, but it was still a good pre-dinner snack because I hadn't eaten since breakfast. We sat and had a drink at the nearest bar, and took one to go, because you can do that in Vegas, before heading to Planet Hollywood. Little sis bought some earrings and we met up with one of my mom's friends.
We underestimated how long it takes to walk the strip so little sis and I rushed ahead back to the Mirage so we could make our 6:45pm dinner reservation at Fin. They put six chairs at the table, even though our reservation was for five. Odd, but I didn't question it. Mom and big sis show up, and I didn't even see it get taken away, but next thing I know that extra chair had disappeared. Okay, whatever. I didn't think much of it. My dad showed up next. I was busy checking out the menu and chatting, when in walks my husband, who is supposed to be in Germany. Why is he not in Germany?
Three weeks ago we had three days together. I dropped him at the airport, he spent a week in Arizona, and then flew back to Germany, so why was he here in Las Vegas at the restaurant where I'm having my Birthday dinner, when he left the states exactly seven days ago. Or did he? How? What are you doing here? For a second I thought he must have been hiding out somewhere for the last week. "I came back for your Birthday," he said and even though, I could clearly see that he was there standing in front of me, I couldn't believe it. I gave him a big hug and I couldn't stop crying.
Well, no wonder he couldn't call me. Surely, I would have heard an airport loud speaker announcement over the phone and ruined the surprise. My dad had gone to pick up MJ from the airport and they went directly from the airport to the strip. Everyone else was talking and laughing and I was slumped over in my chair clutching a napkin to my face sobbing, because I just couldn't believe they had orchestrated this entire thing. I finally gathered myself, we placed our orders and enjoyed dinner.
Well, we show up for the show and lo and behold, there are not three, not five, but six seats together all in a row. The show was so good. It was 1 1/2 hours and didn't end until almost midnight. Two of the three surprise guests were in for some serious jet lag, and really, everyone was pretty tired after a long albeit wonderful day, so we never made it to Vista Cocktail lounge. We went home, ate cupcakes and drank wine around the kitchen island before hauling off to bed.
As our family has spread out geographically, as my parents get older, as I get older, I am acutely (and sometimes painfully) aware of just how precious people are and the experiences that we have together. There is no better birthday present than time and people you care about, and that's what they gave me this year.
The first airport drop on Sunday was big sis. Less than 48 hours after arriving mom and dad shuttled her to the airport. Little sis still had time to come hang out at at the casino for cheap drinks and some gambling. MJ taught me how to play Black Jack, and coached me to $20 in winnings. The drinks were actually really good, but they we got the gambling discount so they were only $2-$4 bucks each, which is a steal for anywhere let alone Vegas. We picked up Steak Shack to go, and then it was time for the 2nd airport drop for little sis. MJ and I had one more day there. We had breakfast at Cracker Barrel and watched a movie at home, and then it was time for the parents to shuttle us to the airport. MJ stalked me and got himself on my flight so we flew back to San Diego together, and I got my husband back for an entire week.
So you see, my April Fools Day Birthday was a Sensational Phenomenal So Good Very Rad Day. Like best day ever sensational!! All of it. I make a point to do things I enjoy on my birthday, but it's typically never anything big, and for me this was big. It crossed my mind that with MJ gone for the year, I could end up spending my Birthday alone. I wasn't even looking forward to it that much, but one turned into three, turned into five, turned into six and I was lucky enough to spend the entire day with a bunch of people I love. Everyone leads busy lives, and we all have our own thing going on, but they hopped on planes from near and far just to be with me on this milestone Birthday. They made me feel so special and so loved. It was truly unforgettable, and I will be forever grateful for what they did and the fun times we shared.