Almost seven years ago I celebrated my 40th birthday. At the time my wife Carrie and I had been married for 15 yrs. and we worked together as high school theater teachers We drove to school together, we shared an office, we even co-taught some classes. A perfect job if your spouse is also your best friend. On weekends and summers we went antiquing together, ate out together, went to lots of movies and plays. We pretty much did everything together. We travelled, shopped for wine, yadda yadda, you get the gist. We were DINKs (dual income no kids) and we were very happy with our lifestyle. We bought a house in suburbia, and then added a pool and patio. I got my pilot's license and Carrie contemplated a return to school to get her MA in Theater, which was going to require that we spend three summers in Chicago. Tough decision I know. At the time our "children" were three poodles, Zeke, Jezebel and Tabitha. So yeah, we were living an American Dream sort of life, and we were happy.
It was 2005, the day after school let out for the summer and I was about to brew a batch of Pale Ale in the garage when the call came. Carrie's grandmother had died. I put away my equipment and ingredients and we made preparations to drive to CA.
Long drives can be a dangerous thing, especially when it's just you and your mate of 15 yrs. Thousands of miles of conversations about this and that and........"hey what do you think about adopting a girl from China?".............."Uh What?" and suddenly there we were on a lonely stretch of road contemplating the unimaginable.
At the time, I was going through a period of "who am I, and what is my purpose here" introspection. Though I was happy, I couldn't help but wonder if I was living God's plan for my life. Yes I enjoyed my job teaching Theater, but I didn't have the same passion for it that my wife did. What I really liked about teaching were the long vacations and trips back and forth to Wyoming and California, and there we were on a lonely stretch of I-40 somewhere in Arizona or New Mexico having the discussion that would ultimately turn our lives, our passions and our priorities completely upside down.