This adventure has a fairly small cast.
Myself, Karen and our girls, as far as humans are concerned. There is a menagerie of furry and feathered friends who helped us get here, but first we need to cover how Karen and I first partnered up.
We both grew up on the east coast. Separate states, but similar country up bringing.
Hunting and fishing were ways of life, along with lots of hard work. That's where the similarities ended.
Karen had the all-American life, attending a small country school and graduating with the same group that he had started kindergarten with. Playing baseball, fixing up cars and being the typical country boy.
Mean while, I grew up homeschooled. Attending art, drama and other extracurricular classes, reading every book I could get my hands on. Unlike the stereotype of being socially awkward from being homeschooled, I was a social butterfly. I could talk to anyone, and I loved exploring and meeting new people. That love of adventure took me all around the world, from Central and South America to China, and eventually I ended up in the same state, and same workplace as Karen.
I can't say it was love at first sight, honestly I wasn't looking for any kind of relationship, much less love. Karen was in a similar mindset, he had made a comfortable life for himself, had a good group of friends and wasn't seeking out any romantic connections.
Don't they always say, you find exactly what you need when you're not looking for it?
Well, I'm not sure who "they" are and how they came up with that saying, but that's exactly what happened with us.
One fateful night I ended up stopping at a bar where Karen and a friend were. I wasn't invited, and fully planned on crashing the party in an ironic kind of way. You see, Karen had been a little sassy at work and we had some frienemy banter going on.
As the fates would have it, that night Karen and I ended up sitting on the back of his car in a parking lot and talking till the sun came up.
Being the practical one, I knew that I was a talker and could connect with anyone, so I still wouldn't say this was love. But there was something different about Karen. He didn't give me the typical guy attention that I usually came across. He had those old school southern gentleman vibes, and he was a protector. After being on my own and taking care of myself, it was nice to feel like I had someone watching my back. Loyalty is priceless to me, and Karen was as true blue as they come.
The rest of the summer flew by, spending all of our free time together, and eventually we got engaged. Karen, being super traditional wanted a family, and with that he wanted us to all be under the same name. I was more open to whatever, so why not. I knew that he was my partner, that I would forever have his back and I wanted him next to me for the rest of my journey...so marriage was the next step.
Our wedding day was pure magic. Granted it was hot as hell, but I guess magic comes in all temperatures. On an antebellum plantation, we said our vows to one another, surrounded by friends and family. Legally, we were now a partnership.
If you haven't picked up on the theme of our life together yet, it's somewhere between Fast and Furious and going with the flow of nature. Actually, that sums up Karen and my personalities perfectly!
In keeping with that theme, Nature decided to add another cast member. Before we celebrated our first wedding anniversary, we welcomed our first daughter. She made both of us better people, and better as a couple.
Our days were now dominated by taking care of a baby and beginning our new life as a family. Then Nature struck again, time for a new cast member! 15 months after daughter #1 arrived, daughter #2 made her grand entrance. We had just celebrated our second anniversary and effectively doubled the size of our family. With a toddler and an infant, we ran on love, coffee and lots of cartoons.
Casting was over, now it's time to develop the characters.
Karen was working, I was the stay at home mom, and we started our journey to find a permanent home for our little tribe.
We settled in a cul-de-sac, a great school zone and good commute. Things were looking great, our oldest would be enrolling in the school the next spring and we would have our American dream life!
Or would we?