We forget how quickly it can fall apart.
Mostly you know where everyone is, you know they're safe, all your ducklings accounted for.
And sometimes, very occasionally, in a heartbeat, your carefully laid plans don't go to plan and one of your ducklings goes astray, even only for a few minutes, it's then you realise how quickly you can go from being a serene, super organised parent to a panicky, stressed out one.
God, that sickening feeling you get when you can't find one of your kids. You don't know where they are. And you don't know what to do.
When they're near you, or you know they're safe with someone else, you take them for granted. And yet in a split second, it can all change. You chest constricts, your heart speeds up and every bit of you yearns for them, to know they're ok, have them in your sight, your arms.
After school today, Josh and I were briefly involved in a situation which started off scary and, thank goodness, ended well. But it was bloody frightening for a while.
We were up at the school by pure chance, searching for his missing lunchbox and hat, when we became involved. He fully understood why we stopped what we were doing and tried to help. He knows how important he is to Mike and I and his sisters (just to name a few people who love him), and he understands every family is just as vital to each other, and he knew helping was the right thing.
The expressions on every parent's face, and those of the school staff as we searched and re-searched, thought and suggested and tried (mostly unsuccessfully) to give help and support were identical. No one was in any doubt as to the seriousness of the situation. And we all wanted the same thing, so very badly.
After what seemed like years, it was sorted. Reunification occurred and all was well. Everyone took a deep breath and calmed our beating hearts. I can tell you it was nearly all bets off for Febfast this afternoon.
Every night, I kiss each of them goodnight on my way to bed, tuck them in and have a little gloat. I know they are safe, and in my care. When one is on a sleepover, they leave a hole shaped exactly like themselves. You can feel it.
But a great deal of the time, I just take them for granted. Not tonight. Tonight I'm appreciating them just a little more.
Sweet dreams all those babies, big and small, safe in their beds tonight. You are all so very loved.