What better place for a romance writer to admire a glorious sunrise than at Niagara Falls? This photo was taken at just before six a.m. on Saturday, June 15 — day two of our long-awaited family vacation which began when my husband, John, our son, David, and I left Arkansas on Friday for the long car ride to our daughter and son-in-law’s house in Massachusetts. Our first stop was in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where we toured the Corvette Museum (both hubs and son are ‘Vette enthusiasts, though neither owns one at the moment). Very early the next morning we found ourselves in New York, close enough to the Falls that I had to see them, having never visited there before. It was as spectacular as I’d imagined, with the awesome force of the churning water, the mist rising pink in the early sun, Canada glowing gold on the other side. Even our night-owl son, who is not a fan of sunrises in general (actual quote: “The sun. It burns the skin!”) enjoyed that stop.
A few hours later, we reached our destination, to be welcomed by our daughter, Kerry, son-in-law, Justin, and the most adorable six-month-old baby ever (okay, maybe I’m a bit biased). The next day — Father’s Day — our other daughter, Courtney, flew in from Washington state to join us for the next eight days. It was the best Father’s Day present my husband could have asked for, to have all his “kids” together again for the first time in almost two years. During those eight days, we ate — a lot — played with the baby, visited the charming and historic western Massachusetts city of Northampton and several very cute shops there, enjoyed a tour and tasting at beautiful Nashoba Valley Winery, had a “girl’s day” shopping at Natick Mall while David and Justin viewed Cambridge and Boston from kayaks on the Charles River (one of the highlights of David’s trip), and did a day trip to delightful Rockport, Massachusetts on the Atlantic coast. Rockport has substituted for Alaska in several movies, including the Sandra Bullock rom-com, “The Proposal,” and is one of my kids’ favorite places. Three miles north of the town is Halibut Point State Park, which is absolutely gorgeous — tree-canopied hiking trails, old granite quarries filled with water so blue it was almost purple, rocky ocean beaches, spectacular views and wildlife. The photo below is the quarry with the ocean beyond. Breathtaking.
In addition to Father’s Day, Justin celebrated a birthday while we were there, he and Kerry marked their sixth wedding anniversary, and Kerry graduated from her general psychiatry residency (she’s one year away from completing her child/adolescent fellowship) — all of which we were privileged to celebrate with them. We played several board games, including a new one called “Strain,” in which the object is to build organisms with cytoplasms and organelles and to give each other “viruses” to prevent them from winning. We laughed about what a “nerdy” game it is for our scientist-heavy family (and that the one who actually works as a virologist didn’t win), but it was a lot of fun. And did I mention that we ate? A lot?
Eventually, of course, the vacation had to end. Everyone had to return to work (or in David’s case, his third year of medical school, which begins in a couple weeks). We said goodbye Tuesday morning with hugs and kisses — no tears! — and promises to get together again as soon as we can, probably in Arkansas next time. John, David and I stopped in Connecticut for lunch and a follow-up visit with my agent, Denise Marcil. Though Denise and I have worked together a long time (28 years this month!), we don’t get to visit in person very often, and that was a real treat for me. I’m only sorry that I forgot to pull out the camera during that special time together; I meant to have our photo taken together, but got so involved in our lively conversations that it didn’t occur to me until later. Maybe next time …
After another long car ride, through Pennsylvania, Virginia and Tennessee this time, we returned home last night, tired, a little sunburned, definitely bedraggled, to be greeted by a mound of mail and a needy, pouty cat (Izzie had a caretaker during our absence, but she always makes us suffer a bit for abandoning her). David returned to his own apartment and now it’s just John and me again (and Izzie, of course). I have a close deadline for a Special Edition to be published early next year (details to come later), there are bags to unpack, bills to pay, grass to mow, a broken microwave to replace, the usual chores and routines of everyday existence. But as tired as I am, I will treasure the memories of every minute of that time with my family, the most precious blessing in my life.
Available later this week — A MATCH FOR THE SINGLE DAD, my newest Harlequin Special Edition! Click the “home” tab above for more details.
May you all have a happy, healthy summer (or winter, depending on where you live) and enjoy special blessings of your own.