Slowly but surely.
* When the kids have been riding bicycles all day and hours later, after dark, you back the car out of the driveway and feel a sudden thud followed by a crunch, you might think you have run over a bike. But this is not so. You have merely enjoyed your turn on a carefully constructed “speed bump” made of a giant stack of logs and boulders.
* When your two oldest boys come inside after a few hours of frog hunting, they will be covered with mud. I already knew that much. And when they disappear upstairs and return moments later in fresh new clothes, their dirty clothes are unlikely to have been placed in the hamper. I knew that much too. What I didn’t realize before yesterday, however, was that sometimes boys have a greater sense of order and propriety than I give them credit for. In these kinds of situations, their dirty clothes will not necessarily be left on the floor of the bedroom where they changed. Sometimes they will be rolled into balls and stuffed back into dresser drawers.
* When a nice man from your church gives your family an Easter basket filled with candy and goodies on Palm Sunday, you will let the children have a couple of pieces each (because it’s Palm Sunday) but then you will quite virtuously explain to them that they must wait until Easter to have the rest of it. You will then put the basket on a very high shelf that only you can reach and yet still, somehow—mysteriously, let’s say—all of the Whoppers Robin Eggs (which just happen to be your favorite Easter candy) will disappear from the basket. There will be no reasonable explanation for this phenomenon.
* Sometimes, when you serve your macaroni and cheese gang Anthony’s Lime Chicken with Pasta for dinner, you will be pleasantly surprised. The high praise of your 7 year old who says, “Hey, this isn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be” will make you blush and stammer.
* When you take your 12 month old outside to play on a warm and sunny afternoon, rather than appreciating the change of scenery and opportunity for adventure, he will be terrified. Of the grass. When bits of it stick to his pant legs, he will shriek in panic and frantically try to brush it away. Rather than admit the embarrassing fact that your son is afraid of the grass, you will tell yourself that the ground must be chilly and then you will scoop him into your arms and hold him as you sit on the steps.
* And as you sit on the steps you will listen to the distant sound of your older children laughing and playing in the woods. You will watch your 2 year old intently making mud cakes. You will feel the steady warmth of springtime sun on your back and shoulders. And you will know what it feels like to be blessed.