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I grew up in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, then lived in Denmark and traveled throughout Europe before coming back to Colorado. I have two adult sons, whom I cherish. I started my writing career as a columnist and investigative reporter and eventually became the first woman editor of two different papers. Along the way, my team and I won numerous state and several national awards, including the National Journalism Award for Public Service. In 2011, I was awarded the Keeper of the Flame Lifetime Achievement Award for Journalism. Now I write historical romance and contemporary romantic suspense.

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Seductive Musings

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Young love, first love



It's been a blue couple of days in my house. On Thursday, Liz, my son's beloved, left to go to college. The two of them have been dating for almost a year. And what a year it was! She was a senior, and he was a junior — except that everyone thought he was senior because he was in mostly advanced classes and because he talks and acts like an adult.

They went to Homecoming together, neither of them thinking anything romantic would come of it. But then over dinner, something just clicked. Liz told me she knew Ben was special when she realized they'd talked all through dinner and afterwards and had never had a single awkward silent moment.

I watched my son fall head over heels crazy in love with this beautiful young woman, who also happened to be very smart and fun. I got used to having her in my house, cooking meals with us, joining us for dinner and such. I got used to her popping through the door all hours of the day. And when I say "popping" I mean "spring-loaded." My son would answer the door, knowing it was she, and she would fly through the door and land right in his arms. It made me so happy to see my son's love being returned with so much enthusiasm.

Over the course of the year, they arranged many surprises for one another, some with my participation. Ben made her a teddy bear by hand using some pattern that existed in his imagination. The result was adorable. He snuck into her house while she was away and put it on her bed.

For Valentine's Day, he and his friends spent weeks rehearsing songs for their girlfriends and planning a big dinner and decorations. They had their respective women "kidnapped," brought blind-folded to one of their houses, where dinner was cooking, flowers were on the table and the room was decorated with fairy lights. Then one by one, the boys sang "their" song to their own beloved while the other boys sang backup. They all played guitar. Ben sang "Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol, putting his heart into the night even though he had a 102-degree fever. The girls were blown away. Afterwards, Ben pretty much collapsed and Mommy had to drive into Boulder at 6 AM to get him.

There were dinners, surprise bouquets of flowers delivered in class, poems, photo albums filled with images of the two of them, a very romantic Prom, swing dance classes in which Ben learned how to lift Liz up, tilt her all the way back and kiss her, as he's doing in the photo above, taken two weeks ago. There were hikes, family dinners with the three of us and cakes spontaneously baked to surprise me. There were countless hours this summer of working on Ben's film, King of Hearts, a 1930s noir detective story in which Ben plays the detective and Liz plays the dangrous dame.


Ben and Liz pose in costume for the Gangsta Bitches on the set of Ben's film

So Thursday when Liz left was a very, very hard day in this house. Ben handled it very well. I took him out of school for the day and I stayed home from work. We had breakfast with Liz — and then we said goodbye to her. And, yes, I cried more than my son did. (The Gangsta Bitches are not surprised to hear this; they've seen my tear ducts in action. All tears, all the time.)

I took Ben into the mountains so that he could have some space to reflect. There's something about mountains or the ocean that have the ability to swallow us and all of our sorrows. We went up to Boulder Falls, then drove on the Peak to Peak Highway, which, incidentally, is the highway Marc Hunter follows after his escape from prison. We stopped in Nederland — known locally as Ned — though we didn't bother to stop and visit Grandpa in the Tough Shed, the dead guy whose grandson put him on ice and who has been in deep freeze since the 1990s up there and has become the focus of the annual event Frozen Dead Guy Days. But I digress.


Ben does his best Teddy Roosevelt pose in front of Boulder Falls, in the distant background.

By the time we got home, we'd gotten a few text messages each from Liz. The bouquet of "bright, fucking pink" gladiolas she'd given me — hey, that's what she called them — were on the table. (Those kids were paying attention, Libby!) The chocolate cake she'd made for us the night before was sitting on the counter. We had steak and potatoes for dinner, then sat down to a slice of her cake with vanilla ice cream and watched Ben's favorite movie, Casablanca.

Well, here's looking at you, kids.

7 comments:

Aimee said...

That is so sad, but unbelievably sweet! Please give Ben a huge hug for me, k?

I hope the absence will only make their hearts fonder. It sounds like they were made for each other.

How often will she be able to come home? Or, can he go visit her? I don't know how far she's gone...

I hope you are doing ok too hon, watching our kids be sad is hard on our hearts

Thanks so much, Aimee. And you're right. It's so hard to see our kids sad. Plus I adore Liz all on my own, so it was hard for me to see her gone. When I opened my cupboard and saw the shortening she'd bought so that she could make that cake, I got all teary. (Libby, Kristi, Sue — stop laughing!) It was a reminder that she will not be puttering in my kitchen for a long, long time.

She's in upstate Illinois, so they won't see each other until Thanksgiving or possibly Christmas, depending on which holiday her family decides to spend at home. I'm hoping to be able to send him out there, perhaps for his birthday, but I need the Money Fairy to drop some green stuff on me first.

I hope all is well with you. The first day of school must be Monday, right? Good luck with all of that. I hope you're doing well.

Ronlyn said...

I was wondering if Liz had left this week. (((((hugs))))) to both you and Ben.

lots of love!

Debbie H said...

All right, I have joined in the tears, P.C.! I could just see the whole thing going down. It is so very hard to see our children hurt like this. Give him a big hug and here's one for you too. {{{HUGS}}} I knew by not hearing from you in awhile, something was up. Before you know it, she will be back for the holidays.

Cheryle said...

Sounds like Liz is one special girl and makes your son happy. What a bonus that you like your son's girlfriend to that is awesome.

I know long distance relationships can be hard from my own personal experiences but they can work out with a dedicated couple.

Good luck to Liz in college! (((HUGS))) to your family Pamela!

What a romantic your Ben sounds!! And as mom's of sons, that can be a problem can't it? We get almost as attached to their girlfriends as they do! Hopefully they will still care as much for each other and time and distance won't prove an issue.
And it does hurt to see our kids hurting doesn't it? My youngest is having issues with his girlfriend/not his girlfriend of several years and I just wish I could jump in and fix things for him

Debbie_D said...

It's got to be difficult when she's become such a part of your family and now she's gone away for college. Hopefully the time will go by quickly and she'll be home for Thanksgiving (being the closest holiday). I'm sure that with text messsaging and IM and cell phones, they'll still be talking alot. {{{{hugs}}}} to you and Ben!

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