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Vacationing with your Spouse’s Ex!?

So I just got home from vacation. With my husband. And my step-daughter. And her mom. Yup! I went on vacation with my husband’s ex.

I will admit, when my husband first proposed this idea, my initial reaction was, What!?!? I didn’t like it. It bothered me in a way I couldn’t even articulate. The more I thought about it, the more upset I was. Going to Las Vegas was ‘our’ thing. My husband and I got married in Las Vegas. Our first trip together was to Las Vegas. Me, my husband and SD (step-daughter) go to Las Vegas. This was our thing and I didn’t want her to be a part of it. They had my SD her whole entire life! They knew and shared everything about her from the second she was conceived! They shared so much that I would never be a part of; her birth, her first steps, first words, nursing her through a cold, her toddler years, kindergarten. Living with full-time and raising another human being is something I’ll never experience. Why couldn’t I hold onto this one thing ‘we’ had that ‘they’ didn’t. I know that sounds petty and childish. But it’s how I felt. For about ten minutes.

Then I came to my senses and realized how amazing it would be for SD. How awesome an example of unconditional love for a child that we could all go on vacation together. My heart overflowed with love thinking about what we, together, could do for her. It is true what they say about taking a village to raise a child.

We have a routine for Las Vegas and it goes something like this: check into our hotel, get to the room, order room service, unpack, eat, shower, get ready and go. The eating part is critical because the next step requires one to have food in one’s stomach. Room settled, we head down to our favorite bar, have a few drinks and some amazing heartfelt conversation while my husband smokes a cigar. Dinner is optional after this 😉  Sometimes you just want sleep.

Also, while in Las Vegas we typically stay on east coast time. That may seem strange to some, but it works for us. We never have to acclimate to later nights and then re-acclimate back in New York. This also means we get up really early! So, yeah, we’re up at 5am and out the door rather quickly. This is one of my favorite routines! First stop – coffee! Then it’s out to the strip for our morning walk about a mile north to breakfast. We walk a lot in Vegas. Cuz you kinda have to. Simply walking from your hotel room to the strip is about 1500-2000 steps according to ‘Fitbit.’ Some days result in over 20k steps! One day we got back to our hotel at night and had approximately 24,200 steps. I couldn’t leave it like that. So I dragged my husband back out to make the 25,000! I may be a little competitive.

Anyway, back to SD and mom. Day 2, we finally saw them at dinner, which was at Nobu in their hotel. If you’ve never been to Nobu – go. Do not ask questions. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. Just go. Unless you don’t like sushi. Then don’t go. But after dinner they had a show to catch so it was like a drive-by. Day 3 they had massages together in the morning, so again we didn’t see them until dinner. By day 4 I was missing them. Both of them! And I was wondering if perhaps they needed some space from each other? So my husband and I concocted a plan. I hope they never read this…

I texted mom and told her: You HAVE to come out and play with us!!!! Husband is winning TONS at roulette at Planet Hollywood! (which he was) Grab SD and come quick before he gives it all back!! Besides I miss you and want to hang out with you J But come quick!  Her response: Ok – leaving our hotel in 2 minutes. Keep winning! And pocket some chips before it turns the other way!!

Apparently he hasn’t changed much.

They came over together, SD went off to do some shopping and we got to hang out with mom for a couple of hours before dinner. It’s interesting. Before we got there, I really was hoping to get some time to spend with her, just talking and hanging out. I wanted to get to know her better and figured a completely different atmosphere might do the trick. Alas, things never turn out the way you plan them. Especially in Las Vegas. But we made it happen. And it was truly wonderful. We sat in a lounge, had a few drinks, and just talked. For about 2 hours! Then SD came back and we all went off to dinner together.

Dinner was fabulous! If you’re ever in Las Vegas, have dinner at Mastro’s Ocean Grill in the Crystal mall next to Aria. And order the butter cake for dessert. I’m not a dessert person, but this cake is to die for! Seriously !!!

Both SD and mom said they would join us for breakfast on the morning of Day 5, though we really weren’t sure they would make it that early. We got there first and they were about 8 minutes behind us. Yay! Or not. Because we had everyone there, my husband decided to order an extra breakfast as kind of a shared plate. Here comes another recommendation: If you’re ever at the Palazzo around breakfast (or really any time), order the French toast. It’s like custard in the middle. Words are inadequate to describe the taste and texture. Just do it. I’m not big on simple carbs, especially for breakfast, but I couldn’t resist taking a couple of bites. Which turned into five bites. Which pretty much put me in a food coma for a few hours.

I think I took a nap after that. Memory’s a little fuzzy…

Our last dinner – another must – Lago in Bellagio. We sat outside overlooking the Bellagio fountains so we had a perfect view of the ‘show’ every half hour. And the food was good too. As was the wine.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip. I got to spend some time with my husband’s ex in a way most people don’t have a chance to. And probably don’t ever want to. From day one though, it was always about SD. Whatever decision any of us made – it was always with her best interests at heart. Way back in the beginning, when I first met my husband, there was a lot of stress and anxiety between mom and me, mainly because we were unknown entities. There was that whole fear of the unknown thing going on. Once we met and got to know each other a bit, things settled down into a routine of sorts. And, I think, once she realized I also put her daughter’s interests first – things were good.

Every single decision we make – we make with SD’s best interests at heart. All of us. It’s all about her and what’s best for her. Yes, we could easily have said, you know maybe this trip isn’t such a good idea. But there was no real reason to not do this. It’s easy to make the right decision when you put somebody else first. This was not about me. This was not about any of us ‘adults.’ This was all about our daughter. About showing her how beautiful life can be when we approach it with love and gratitude in our hearts.

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