Before having children of my own, I could not fathom how parents would go on vacation without their children. The year my second child was born, though, when my husband brought up his work trip to Las Vegas, I was like “Sign me up!”

Our trip was a life changer that refreshed our marriage. I never thought I would enjoy Vegas because I’m not the gambling type, but after driving just 30 minutes from the strip you see a serene and beautiful arrangement of rust colored mountains and blue skies. I used to say I grew up in the mountains when talking with people about my life in western Maryland, but once I hiked at Red Rock Canyon, I realized that Maryland is just hills.

Now, we make our trip to Vegas an annual event. My mother in-law watches our kids so we can focus on ourselves for a few days.

Rilene and her husband on vacation in NevadaLast year when we were planning our annual trip to Las Vegas we heard that The Billboard Music Awards were being held there. I was so excited for this once-in-a-lifetime experience. But to make it to the show, we would have to forego our normal 5-mile exploration to the top of Turtle Head Peak.

My husband knows me well, so he made sure we would at least do some hiking. He rented a convertible and drove us out to Red Rock for a shorter hike. The moment we arrived, the calm washed over me.

The only noise in the area was the sound of birds that you never hear in Ohio. The sky was unimaginably clear and blue, without a trace of humidity in the air. There is something healing about solitude on this beautiful earth God created. I could almost feel God’s presence as we trekked the landscape. We saw desert mule deer, jackrabbits, lizards, and an array of little creatures and birds we’ve never seen before. My spirit needed this hiking trip.

After our hike, we returned to our hotel room so that I could turn this homely dental hygienist/mom into someone worthy to be chosen as a seat filler (just in case.) After being led into the huge theatre like cattle, we took our seats. We quickly realized that the Billboard Music Awards weren’t everything we expected.

A lot of the advertised performers weren’t even present. They were previously recorded and put on a large screen! We ended up leaving the show an hour and a half early to go to a fabulous dinner. I immediately regretted not completing our all-day hike. The greatness of the mountains, air, sky, and animals were far more pleasurable than any combination of mechanical lights, music, and famous people. This year nothing will keep me from taking the trek to the top of Turtle Head Peak!

As a dental hygienist I care for an average of eight patients a day. More often than not, I find people stressed out and in a hurry. A large percentage of patients need to use a nighttime occlusal guard to protect their teeth from clenching and grinding during stressful times.

Today many people are on blood pressure and anti-anxiety medications. Often patients sit in my operatory chair and think of it as a break from their daily lives (some even find themselves falling asleep.)

With the amount of hustle, bustle, and chaos in this world, you must take time to breathe and enjoy simple things this wonderful life has to offer. We cannot be great parents if we aren’t taking care of ourselves first. We cannot have great marriages if we do not invest time in each other away from our children.

Rilene Port, Schumacher & Bauer headshot

Author: Rilene Port

Rilene is a proud graduate of The Ohio State University and has been a dental hygienist with Schumacher & Bauer for almost 9 years. She thrives from being around and serving other people and outdoor activities. She lives in Westerville with her husband of 17 years and her two spunky and beautiful kiddos.