This past weekend we had our, what we’ve been calling, last hurrah. We went to Las Vegas for a few days. The last trip before kids. Apparently, we are crazy, because it seems everyone else took their kids with them to Sin City. Now, there are some family friendly stops, the M & M store and the fountains stand out. However, they are few and far between. Here are some of the events that the kids got to see: The Sirens of Treasure Island lured the pirates to their demise using their, uh, womaness. The romantic gondola ride at the Venetian. Scantily clad women on billboards and buses. If the still image wasn’t enough, there were the waitresses or random folk walking down the street. (We missed out on bikini rodeo at our casino, next time I guess.)
Now, not being a parent yet I may be mistaken, but I can’t imagine that Vegas is a vacation that children clamor for. Sure, the sounds and colors of the casino floor are gently appealing to every age group, but really, how much fun is it if you can’t play. There’s the hotel pool, but their pools are no more appealing to a child than a pool in Dayton. So, I am going to assume that this vacation is for the parents, with some fun for the kids sprinkled in. This can’t be good, right?
I went and saw the movie “The Watchmen” last year. In the movie, there is, um, a love scene with nudity(+), and many other scenes with gratuitous violence. In the crowd, there was a couple with their friends and two kids behind me. During the love scene, about halfway through, we had one of those great moments in parenting history. Dad kicks the chair in front of him (where one child was sitting), tells them to cover their eyes, and then continues his vulgar conversation with his buddy. The scene where you knew some bad things were going to happen with the knife, no problem, but at least the parent skills turned on for that one fine moment with a kick to the back of the head.
I guess this goes to the balance of maintaining your individual identity vs. becoming Mom and Dad. Of course we’ve already started something similar. We’ve been balancing Scott and Steph the individuals, and Scott and Steph the married couple for years now. Those of you reading this probably know us as Scott and Steph, with all our quirks and interests. Some of you may know just Scott, or just Steph. Pretty soon someone will know us only as Mom and Dad.
It’s interesting to think about. Do you remember when you realized your parents were people? Wait, that sounds wrong. How about when you realized that they had lives before you, and have lives outside of you now? I’m not sure when it was for me. I’m sure it was pretty late in childhood. My parents did everything they could to be Mom and Dad. Dad went to work early so he could be home when we got home from school. Mom quit her job to stay home with us. They went to every ballgame and concert that we had. Mom took a job when I was in high school. I’m not sure of the reason why. Maybe some boredom at home with us gone at various things, but maybe she was more ready to get back to being more Dianne and a little less Mom. She’ll always be Mom to us, but she’ll also always be Dianne to many others.
Some people fight hard to keep their individuality, whether it is taking your kids to a R-rated flick, going on vacation to Las Vegas, getting a sitter while you go for a nice meal, or continuing to work. There is a cut-off somewhere though. For most of us, you have to give up some of that individuality to become a better parent. I like to see movies, but I’ll have to give up some of that in order to not warp my child’s head. Trips to Vegas will be replaced with trips to Washington D.C. or Orlando.
I think it is okay to have the occasional date night. It is okay for us to work. It is okay for me to watch the game on Sunday (yes, yes, in moderation). We want to maintain our individual identities and our couple identity as well. So Vegas was the last hurrah for Scott and/or Steph. Now comes the transition to Dad and Mom.