by Jenny Gray, Pastor’s Wife, Liberty Baptist Church, Durham, NC

Today, with the technology and entertainment offered, having family fun is almost a lost artOur families have become so busy and have allowed so many distractions into their world, there seems to be no time for fun!

My hubby and I have three sons, and ever since they were born, my greatest thrill is hearing them laugh and enjoy being togetherFor a long time, when they were younger, my hubby was an evangelist and was gone a lotDuring these times, our fun was mostly homemade…hide and seek, a game of Candy Land, a walk with the dog, or piling up leaves to jump intoAs the boys grew older, we made plenty of trips to the park with basketballs and baseball equipment in towDuring this time, we began to accumulate a “dress-up box.” I have many pictures of my boys dressed up as superheroes, cowboys, preachers, handymen, sports figures, and even the occasional animalIt was not unusual for me to walk into the room and find a church service going on with each of my boys in charge of a part of the service or for there to be a fight between Batman and the JokerMany times I was escorted to the grocery store by three very interesting characters dressed in their favorite items from the dress-up boxI was a very sad Momma when the time came to get rid of that dress-up boxI was informed by my youngest that he was too old for that kind of stuff.

As my boys grew, my husband and I began to introduce them to some “rough characters”…Andy Griffith, the Three Stooges, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis…you know, black and white shows we had enjoyed as kidsQuite often our family fun was (and is) putting in one of these old shows, settling in with our favorite snack, and giggling togetherOur three boys watched the old shows so much, they memorized them! Even now, I will hear them laughing and find them plopped down in front of the TV with their favorite snack in hand, quoting the lines along with the charactersAnd, of course, my hubby is right in the midst of them!

Sometimes fun is experienced with a little bit of competitionI have four VERY competitive men, meaning they will win at any cost, and I am the only woman standing for honesty and fairness! That being said, game night can be very scary in our household. However, we love to get around the table and play a fun game of Uno or Phase 10. Fun and laughter is always a part of the night…along with the occasional threats to “stop cheating” from me, and the winks that the boys exchange when they have “won” another game!

Playing miniature golf or driving go-carts is no different. Their fun is often at my expense as they watch how frustrated I get trying to keep the competition fair. But again, I secretly enjoy it, as once again we are enjoying our time together. And recently, my eldest has become engaged to a sweet young lady who shares my love for fairness and will, in all likelihood, realize it is a losing game.

Now that my boys are slowly leaving me (one is engaged to be married in June, one is in college in California, and the baby will be a senior next year), I value any fun time we get. A day playing golf or a night at the ball park are moments of fun I cherish.

Some of our trips include being in the car for a longer time, which means SING-A-LONGS! When the boys were little, I could put in a Patch the Pirate tape or a singing tape of a quartet, and I would instantly have surround sound with little voices not always on key, singing at the top of their lungs. It is no different now, except the voices have matured, and they each have their own part they sing, and it is marvelous! Sometimes I do not want the trip to end because I am loving the unity and joy I am hearing and know I will miss it one day when they are gone and the car is quiet.

Sometimes the car rides are full of discussions. When they were little, their questions were easily answered. Now the conversations are a little more deep and sometimes challenging as our young men are making decisions on their own and trying to figure out life. I love hearing my hubby give answers and listen to their thought processes. And inevitably, there is also laughter as they tease each other or think of a joke they just heard! Car rides are so much fun!

As you can tell, the Grays love to have fun in any location and in any situation. We also do not have to spend a lot of money in order to enjoy being together. I am grateful for the men in my life and the laughter I hear every day. The memories we are making will last much longer than any possession I might acquire.