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I imagined this day coming

I threw away my last, blue, glass gem this weekend.

You might remember this post from a few years ago:

My day to day time with Caleb living under our roof is over for now.

I imagined this day coming and it was a lot like I imagined it.

It was emotional for each of the Rittler’s. Elise lead the way in tears but all of us were feeling deep emotions.

For Josh he shared how he felt like Caleb had been a good leader and example for him. He was so thankful that his older brother had been a senior as he entered Towson High School. Caleb and Josh have a special bond that I admire as brothers.

Josh and Caleb have shared a room since they were little boys and for the first Josh will now be the big brother in the house.

Riley is naturally both dramatic and very sensitive to what others are feeling. She shared how grateful she was that Caleb was kind and cared about her as the only sister. She was sad when we left and was very empathetic toward everyone else and Elise in particular.

Seth is our most verbal processor in some ways (like his oldest brother). He talked through some of what it would be like not having Caleb around and his excitement for moving up in the world to share a room with his big brother (Josh) now.

For Elise there seemed like a mix of emotions: obviously sadness, excitement, a flood of memories came back (“I can still see him in his careseat”), and more. Elise is the glue in our family and the emotional leader. It was great to be with her as she let go of her firstborn.

For me I made light of a lot of it. I spent a fair amount of time playfully teasing Elise for her tears (although I’m secretly jealous of her ability to feel her deep emotions so consciously and process them with such awareness). I made a lot of jokes about feeling like we were forgetting something. And I watched how everyone else was processing the event.

Deep down inside it felt like a win.

I’ve had two goals for my time at home with my children:

  • I wanted to enjoy being with them and hopefully have them enjoy being with me.
  • I wanted to see them able to handle life maturely when they left home.

As we drove away from Caleb’s dorm I watched him in the rear view mirror walking towards the dorm I felt a deep sense of peace that by God’s grace I’d been given the gift of meeting those goals.

I couldn’t have achieved the goals without imagining them first.

Now I’m off to spend more time with the remaining three. Time is short this side of eternity.

Keep moving forward,


Written by

I am the CEO of Blue Ocean Ideas, a creative agency in Baltimore, Maryland. My job is to clarify the strategy and take care of my team. I am married to the beautiful Elise Rittler and we have four great kids. When I’m not at Blue Ocean Ideas or with my family I am riding a bike, running, playing ultimate frisbee, eating, or sleeping. There is a little more about me here.

6 Responses to “I imagined this day coming”

By Bob - 23 August 2011

Thanks for sharing that Greg. Being a new dad I don’t know what it will be like but you are setting a great example for us all.

By Steve - 23 August 2011

I too have gone through this with four children. You expressed what we felt each time. It is different with each child but that same general sense of happiness, sadness, accomplishment and gratitude for the blessing bestowed on us by God. Thanks for sharing.

By greg - 23 August 2011

Thanks Bobby! I know you guys are doing a great job! Can’t wait to keep watching Eli growing up.

Steve- Your family is a great example. I’m on my first and you are done your last! I’m sure it will be different with each. We keep joking that by the time Seth (our 9 year old youngest) comes along we will be getting him a ride to school!


By Sarah - 23 August 2011

I have been thinking about both you and Elise since Sunday. I close my eyes and I can see myself in Elise’s shoes in 10 years. It’s scary and a bit heartwrenching. But strangely peaceful – knowing that God has given me a fierce desire to savor my time with them now. Your post has freshly reminded me of that.

I loved this post. Every word.

And, I love this photo. What a great looking family!

By greg - 23 August 2011

Thanks Sarah! It won’t be long. As we were driving down to drop him off Elise and I were remembering how vividly we could remember all of the events of his life since he was born. This is our one and only life and we are so glad we get to spend it with people we love!

By Anita Dudek - 23 August 2011

What a great ending/beginning! Tim IS short this side of eternity. We need to use it wisely!

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