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What Happens In Vegas


My daughter’s 21st Birthday… meant a weekend trip to Las Vegas!
I flew for 5 hours from NY while she drove for 5 hours from Arizona–An easy drive compared to the cross country road trip that bought her there just two months earlier.

The entire plane ride down I find strangers that I am bursting to share my joy with “It’s my daughter’s 21st birthday!”
Most of them respond, “I went to Vegas for my 21st”.
I am shocked. Vegas is the kind of trip that I never dreamed of for my own 21st.  After all, by the time I was 21 my daughter was already 2.

Looking at the life that she has created for herself makes me so proud. Her bold choices, made possible by her confidence, and knowing that I always have her back.

Finally when I see her, it feels different…like she is my friend. I am starving, while she just ate…and still she wants to sit with me.  Like it’s what she would rather do more than anything else.  And I feel fulfilled in a way that I cannot express…like she is someone I am just getting to know and like I respect her life as her life.

I can hear the maturity in her when she confides that she is very happy that she arrived to an away four year college with the experience of community college under her belt.  She is able to clearly see the immaturity of the younger women and their struggle to fit in.
She feels comfortable in who she is…A feeling I did not get to until I was 30–okay 37.

I was surprised and elated to hear that perhaps she misses home more than she expected to.

We marveled at Cirque Du Soleil Shows and I came to know that what happened in Vegas will not stay in Vegas, but instead with us forever.
And now suddenly all of our conversations have deeper meaning.  Even the texts that we exchange are ending in I LOVE YOU and THANK YOU (OMG).  Has someone taken my daughter’s phone? Do I recognize this texter?

Oh yes. I think I do.  She is my Friend.  Someone I admire and respect. She is the girl I always wanted to be. She is my daughter. She is the future of me and the future of Latinas.

About Elaine Del Valle

WGA-East/SAG-AFTRA/AEA/DG/NYWIFT, HOLA/AWNY Writer, Performer, Producer

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