Today is our last day of our family vacation—we’ve seen everything from biggest natural wonder on Earth (the Grand Canyon) to the biggest unnatural wonder on Earth (Las Vegas). While we’ve filled our heads with so much wonder and grandiosity, the only thing I want to write about is a family legend that was born the other night in our Las Vegas hotel.
It was Monday night and we were worn out, so Kevin and I tucked the boys into bed in their suite at 8, then went to our joined suite to watch TV for an hour, then fall asleep ourselves. Ten minutes after turning out the lights, we heard a knock outside and thought, “Is that our door?” “No, couldn’t be.” We went back to the job of trying to fall asleep.
A few minutes later, we got a phone call.
Other Voice: Yes. Is this Rachel?
Other Voice: This is Carol from the front desk. I’m calling to say that some guests at the hotel have found your son.
Me: My son??!
Receptionist: Yes ma’am, your son.
Me: Which son??!
Receptionist: I don’t know, ma’am. They just found a boy who said his last name is Beto and he is staying in the junior suite.
I should mention that the receptionist’s voice sounded judgy and also not at all surprised.
She couldn’t give me the name or number of the guests, even though they were in possession of my freaking SON, but said she would put me through to them. Then the line went dead. I waited there with panic and confusion rising in my chest until I was definitely sure no one was going to get back on the line and say, “April Fool’s!” In fact, no one was going to get back on the line at all. Kevin went to do a kid count and only came up with two kids in bed—Vincenzo was gone.
I set the phone down, went into the hallway, and started calling, “Vincenzo? Vincenzo?” until a door opened and out staggered a very shaky, scrawny looking boy wearing nothing but a t-shirt and a pair of underwear. Boxers, thank goodness, but still. Underwear.
Two nice looking ladies came out behind him and Kevin went down to explain that we are actually very good parents and we have no idea how this all happened but, ha ha, we’re not laying in our rooms strung out on heroin or anything, while I gave my shaking, sobbing boy the hug of his lifetime.
It’s not the first time Vincenzo has sleepwalked. He used to get night terrors as a toddler. (I’m pretty sure The Exorcist was written by a parent whose kid had night terrors.) As he grew up they turned into what we call “Creepy Pees,” where V gets out of bed and goes to the bathroom but if you talk to him his eyes are all glassy and he speaks in tongues. I got a call last summer from his overnight camp that the counselors found him wandering around outside in the middle of the night, crying and saying something about the bathroom.
Anyway, over the past couple days, more details about V’s Vegas Escapade have come out. Vincenzo said that the first thing he remembers about is waking up outside our hotel room door, sans pajama pants. He knocked on our door but no one answered, so he instantly panicked and ran up and down the hallway, trying all the doors.* Want to see what a real life nightmare looks like?
Then he found an elevator, so he decided to take it to find some help, but it was the service elevator and no matter what button he pushed, it kept bringing him to floor 15.
I swear, I have had actual nightmares like this.
Then he went back to running around the hallways in a panic until two nice ladies found him and called the front desk, who called me.
As for the pajama pants, Vincenzo found them in the shower the next day.
Kevin and I, of course, felt like the world’s worst parents, losing our child in the immoral town of Las Vegas while we slumbered peacefully on.
Vincenzo was afraid to go to sleep the next night. We had him memorize our room number, rattle off my phone number, we stuck a key in his pajama pants (not that that would have helped), and we barricaded the door to the hallway with a few very heavy chairs.
God help us if the hotel catches on fire tonight.
Today we are heading out to the strip and I told Vincenzo we’ll probably see “Wanted” pictures everywhere with his picture on it and a list of all the mischievous deeds he did on his Wild Night in Las Vegas.
You know, that would be a great premise for a movie…
WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Maybe another family legend.
But hopefully not.
*For anyone fact checking this story, that was not the knock we heard. The knock we heard a half an hour later was from the ladies a few doors down who had found Vincenzo.