About four years ago, Daddy & I took our first vacation without you. It was a big deal. You had just turned one. I hadn't spent more than one overnight away from you, & here I was going across the country for a week & leaving you behind. I'm pretty sure I was a wreck, but I had to go. I had a work trip in Las Vegas. Daddy had never been, & although I felt like being away from you for that long might kill me, we decided Daddy would meet me out in Las Vegas & we would celebrate a year of surviving parenthood.
Your Aunt Andrea & Uncle Lowell just happened to be in Las Vegas at the same time, & for one day we got to enjoy the city with them. It was such a surprising & special treat. We walked all over Las Vegas (so much walking!), checking out different casinos, eating yummy food, taking in the sights, & doing some gambling here & there.
I've been to Vegas three times. The first two times I didn't even put a quarter in a slot machine. I'm really not much of a gambler. Still, the lights & art & waterfalls & buildings are pretty incredible to look at.
As crazy & built up as the city is, my favorite part of that trip with Daddy wasn't on the Las Vegas strip. We went on a full day trip to the Hoover Dam & the Grand Canyon. I hope to someday take you to the Hoover Dam & Grand Canyon. They absolutely took my breath away. The Grand Canyon truly is one of the great wonders of the world. They say people travel from across the world to visit the Grand Canyon, & yet the average person spends only 15 minutes actually looking at it. I could have stayed & hiked & reflected at the Grand Canyon forever.
They also say the most common way people get injured at the Grand Canyon is by pretending to fall into the Grand Canyon. Whoops.
Unfortunately, we had to return to Las Vegas in time to watch the New England Patriots lose in the playoffs on the last day of our vacation. Daddy looked like he was going to either cry or punch someone for most of the day, which was kind of a bummer (I will never plan a trip during the NFL playoffs ever again). We were so ready to leave the lights & splendor behind & go home to you.
I still remember how amazing it felt to hold you in my arms again. I covered your little face in kisses & felt like I might never let you go again. Of course, I did let you go, & Daddy & I have been fortunate to take a bunch of other adventures together in the last four years. I love our adventures as a family of three, but sometimes we need time to just be Julie & Brian too. Lucky for us, Daddy & I don't have to dread the end of our vacations. Coming home to you is one of the greatest feelings in the world. Thanks for that.
I love you so,