An Unexpected 21st

When you think about celebrating your 21st birthday, most think of hanging out with your closest friends, having the time of your life and throwing back tequila shots all night long.  At least that’s what I thought I’d be doing until about six months prior to my 21st.

Instead, I got this crazy idea that I’d have the time of my life celebrating my birthday in Las Vegas with my mom, my fiancé and my soon to be mother-in-law. Hmm…not exactly what I had pictured all my life. But, since all of my friends were already 21, and had been for months now, celebrating my own landmark birthday was just not the same anymore.

I could have probably gone to the local bar in my college town and see all the same people that I went to school with for three years. We’d have fun, but it wouldn’t be Vegas fun (at least that’s what I kept telling myself).

So, the big day came along. It was time to board the plane from Columbus, OH to Las Vegas, NV. There was no backing out now. My fiancé, Dusty, and I sat next to each other on the plane. I kept telling him how excited I was to finally be going to Vegas, after all the months of back and forth e-mails that my mom and I had been sharing, trying to plan every day of our crazy weekend.

Fast forward seven hours and we were finally there. It felt surreal.  We stepped off of the plane and reality finally hit me. Seeing all of the slot machines and banners of the concerts playing made me more excited for the weekend ahead.

Our first adventure was for my mom and me to get matching tattoos. This was something I wanted to do and tried so hard to convince my mom to go through with it. With her consent, we were on our way to Downtown Tattoo. While our tattoo artist, Ross, was sketching out our tattoo, we sat nervously awaiting this painful journey. I made my mom go first because I thought if she could do this, I definitely could! Watching my mom act very cool and collected, I thought that this couldn’t nearly be as bad as I thought it would be. I was very wrong. With the first touch of the needle I knew that the next five minutes were going to be the longest, most painful moments I have ever endured. However, once the pain was over, I was really happy with the outcome.

imageAs newly tatted people, my mom and I were ready for our night to begin. We enjoyed a complimentary dinner at a Brazilian steakhouse, Pampas Brazilian Grill, where we tried 14 different types of meat. Yummy! But for my vegetarian mother, it wasn’t her favorite stop of the weekend. Next we took in the Rock of Ages concert where we got to enjoy classic rock from the 70’s and 80’s. After we were blown away by the amazing concert, it was almost midnight. I was almost 21 years old. So, we spent the next hour preparing for our night on the town ready to celebrate my birthday! We spent the rest of the night gambling.

The rest of the weekend became a haze of way too much fun, excitement and craziness. We went zip lining through the mountains of Vegas, which was such an exhilarating feeling. Cascading 65 mph through the gorgeous desert was just the way I wanted to spend my special day.

image copy 2Once that thrill was over, we were onto our next adventure, shooting guns at Guns and Ammo Garage. These were not just normal guns. We started off with a handgun…okay I am familiar with this…nothing special, done this before. Then it was an automatic Uzi. Even though I have shot guns before, I have never shot something like this. My heart was racing, that was crazy! But, they saved the best for last. It was what they called “A Happy Ending”…and the name didn’t lie. It really was a happy ending, but not it the way that most people are thinking. It had a burst of fire that exploded from the gun once it was fired. My arm hair was standing up when I shot it and although it was many feet away, it felt like it was a couple inches in front of me.

image copy 3

One of my favorite activities was The Candy Factory. We got 60oz goblet drinks that were candy infused, yum! And since I am such a candy fanatic, I absolutely loved it. I got a white gummy bear one and the best part about it was eating the gummy bears after I had finished the drink!

On our last day in Vegas, we had a grand finale at Cirque du Soleil’s Zarkana. I’ve been to a couple of Cirque du Soleil shows before but this particular show in Vegas just made it that much better. It was breathtakingly gorgeous. The finesse of all of the dancers is just incredible. I was left speechless after the performance. And that was the cherry on top of the sundae. Although I had a few expectations for my trip to Vegas, I was stunned by the outcome. All in all, I would say that my birthday weekend was a success.

While the above is a snapshot of our wild weekend…there is more.  But as the popular slogan states, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” (at least part of it anyway).

Written by Jessie Cahill (daughter of Molly Blaisdell)


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