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Trip to Las Vegas

Lisa Sygutek

Aug 30, 2023

I have incredible memories of Las Vegas. We started going there when I was five.

My parents loved Las Vegas so much that until last week, I’ve been there 50 times, now it’s 51.

I have incredible memories of Las Vegas. We started going there when I was five, the year after Ricky died. My guess is that my parents had a huge epiphany about memories and time together after Ricky died. 

I knew Vegas when it was run by the mob. We stayed in the same hotel just off the strip from the MGM hotel called Maxims.

We would arrive as a huge group, driving down in my parents’ 15-passenger van with all us kids and usually friends in tow. I don’t know how many friends came on a Vegas vacation with the Sygutek’s, but I know it was a lot.

When we arrived, my mom would check in to the hotel, give us kids a roll of quarters and we would head down to the game room for hours. When I was done or hungry, whichever came first, I would go to the lobby and page my parents from the house phone. I can still recall hearing my mom’s name in the casino telling her to go to the front lobby. We had the best of times and in today’s standards, most people would think it was child neglect, but it was awesome.

My promise to the boys was that when they turned 21, we would go to Vegas. Unfortunately, Keiran turned 21 during COVID and missed the window. Recently Aiden had his big day and so it was agreed that off we would go. Quinn stayed at home. He’s a very serious young man and I was kind of hoping he’d have a party, but to my dismay he was responsible, too responsible. LOL.

I booked us into the Flamingo. We were there five years ago for my nephew Tanner’s wedding so I thought it would be perfect, it has an over 21 party pool. What boy doesn’t want a party pool? We arrive late on Wednesday night and when we got to the room I was shocked at the deplorable condition. It was dirty, old, and disgusting. The sink wouldn’t drain the water, the walls were filthy, and the beds were missing a top sheet, so you had to sleep on a bare duvet. Well, that didn’t work, and we departed for Mandalay Bay. Now that’s a hotel! If you go to Vegas, I highly suggest you stay there. 

It was a magical three full days with my boys. I have to say that I may have the funniest kids alive. We did it all. We won $1450 the very first time the boys pulled a slot (we even had to pay the IRS 30% of our proceeds), we switched hotels in the middle of the night, Keiran made friends with a group of girls in the hotel only to find out they were prostitutes. He didn’t know what to do, so he started to explain flyfishing to them (he really likes flyfishing), we went to a Battle Bots competition, Michael Jackson’s Cirque Du Soleil production, and the Potted Potter Play. We went to an aquarium in our hotel, petted sting rays and saw sharks, walked the strip, and played Blackjack on Freemont Street. We swam in a lazy river, burnt our feet (it was 40 degrees), ate at Wolfgang Puck’s Cut restaurant (I’m a lot poorer now), checked out a restaurant called Texas du Brazil, an all-you-can-eat meat restaurant where you have a token on your table. Green means you want more meat (they walk around cutting meat at your table), you stop when you turn your token back around. I have to say they made money on me and lost their shirts with Aiden. We stayed up until 5 am every night and it was the best vacation ever.

I cry as I write this editorial thinking about how lucky I am that my kids enjoy being with me. They are the best part of my life. While we were in Vegas, we celebrated the anniversary of my dad’s passing (August 25), and it reminded me how lucky I’ve been to have such great memories with my parents. 

We caught an Uber one night and our driver was a Vegas local and I told him about going to the Maxims hotel, (I had a bit of a cry in my throat) long gone from Las Vegas and he asked if we could do a bit of a detour. He took me to the former hotel which is now a Double Tree. As I looked at it, I had a flashback of the best memories of days gone by. It was beautiful. 

The boys are now men, both heading off to finish their last year of university and I can’t help but think things will be different.

I will have few moments like last week. Just a mom and her boys. They will start their own families one day and start making their own memories. For one moment I stopped and just enjoyed the experience for what it was.

I couldn’t help but think of my parents and how they would be beaming in heaven at our antics. The boys really are bigger than life and so much fun and I forgot how fun I am too!

I haven’t laughed so hard in years as I did last week. I laughed from my belly and enjoyed every second.

Life is really built on moments and in those perfect moments you truly see and appreciate the beauty of life.

I’m Vegas’d out, that is until Quinn turns 21 in four years and we’ve made a pact to do it all again, at the Mandalay Bay! As I’ve said before, I am the luckiest lady alive!

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