At first, it’s just birth plans and cloth diapers, co-sleeping and schedules, and the next thing you know, your child is conspiring to feed the dog tacks.

Parenthood is no laughing matter.

We talk about this over rosé and s’mores, a campfire blazing away a threat of chill at sunset, the children as liberated from harm’s way as one could fathom: save grizzly bears, drowning and marshmallow roasting sticks to the eye. We holler the customary cautions and strap lifejackets on for safe measure, even though they are just skipping stones from the stern of an anchored boat. (There have been less obvious disasters, of this I am certain.)

We ponder choices, the desirability of geography, community, commuting, the trade-offs of not flying your Preferred Airline, hairy drives over wintry mountain passes, a winter that just does not quit, shares of beef and cubic-feet of deep freezers, all the while staring into the fire with the wizened eyes earned a handful of scant years into the walk as Keepers of Young Things.

“Think of their lives,” my friend throws out. “Their lives are crazy, they have no idea.” And they don’t.

This night is 360 degrees of mountains and foil-smooth lake, the cherry-topper of a full moon rising brighter than a lighthouse on a foggy night, and not a soul in sight.

There is something redemptive and grace-filled that children, in all their hope and optimism and God-given survival mechanisms, do not grasp the reality of their situation, as beautiful or as ugly as their situation may be.

In this case, it is beautiful. Of course there are still meltdowns and power struggles, heartbreaks and vulnerabilities beyond your wildest dreams, always; not to mention the abandonment, largely, of the life and personhood formerly known as Yours and You.

All of it, at this moment, seems a trifle of a concern.

All of it, you’d dare only with the best of friends.