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A Sweet Summertime in Grace Kids

I am the father of four amazing kids and am married to Rachel, an exceptional wife (please ignore the bias, just know that it's true). I work 60 hours per week and have two separate jobs. Those two sentences typically receive the same reaction from multiple colleagues and friends. "Do you have enough time to spend with your family?" My answer is always the same. I schedule my time at work so I can have some good time with the family - it's not as much as I want, but I'm thankful for my jobs and the time we do get to spend together. It just so happens that weekly, I make sure my Wednesday nights are free.

Needless to say, when I first heard GFC was offering the family nights (on Wednesdays) during the summer, I was excited. My kids love to have adventures, and Rachel does a great job planning activities for our children. Yet I work so much I don't always get to join up with them, even in the evening. It also means that my wife always has to do activities with four kids, leaving little time for individualized attention. My excitement about the Wednesday summer nights was split between how much I knew it would mean to the kids and how much it would mean to my wife and me.  

During the Wednesday night Father/Son event, my boys and I were able to join with other boys and their dads and just play. We played outside in the warm summer weather, sweating as we played kickball. We cheered each other on and cheered on other dads and their sons. As you probably know, it wasn't the game itself that made the evening, but playing together. The residual effect of that evening was that my wife also had time one-on-one with our little girl. When my wife spent time with the boys, they played bingo together. Rachel came home saying they had a blast and that we need to do that more often. My youngest son even won a gift card to the movies; we later used that gift card for a family night watching Finding Dory (Finding Nemo is a family favorite in the Ritter home).

The girls were able to spend quality time painting in their pajamas. My little girl loves being cozy and creative. She is a lot like her mom in many ways! The boys and I spent time together again, capitalizing on the opportunity. The final event of the summer was a Daddy/Daughter Date Night. We met at the church ready for ice cream and a movie. This time with my little girl was perfect. We laughed together, shared popcorn, and filled ourselves up with ice cream. These few hours were special for the both of us. I will remember it forever.  

I am so thankful that, in the busy-ness of life, Grace was able to provide an avenue to encourage Rachel and I to strengthen our relationships with our kids. I am so grateful for this opportunity and encouragement. For a dad that wants more time with everyone in the family, this summer has been exciting. I looked forward to each of these events with high anticipation, and they have both grown my relationship with my kids and made me happier to be a dad. I couldn't ask for anything more.

Greg Ritter

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