Joni Mitchell knew all about it. "Don't it always seem to go," she sang, all the way back in 1970, "that you don't know what you've got til it's gone?"
Joni was singing about parking lots being built all over the lush green paradise of Hawaii. But she could just as easily have been talking about life in Coronavirusland.
It seems hard to believe now, but just a few weeks ago, life was normal. Days were filled with the routine of school, work, and home. There were summer holidays to plan, parties to go to, friends to visit. There were matches to watch and sports to play.
As the evenings got lighter, we could smell spring in the air. The air was a bit warmer. The mood was a bit brighter. We were all-consumed, as we usually are, with the humdrum of the everyday.
You don't know what you've got til it's gone. And boy has it gone.
We've all given up a lot in a very short space of time. And the funny thing is, right here, right now, in what the Taoiseach so chillingly described as the calm before the storm, it is the little things that you miss the most.
I never thought I'd miss my colleagues so much. In fact, I never thought I'd miss them at all and I'm sure the feeling was mutual, but there it is.
I miss the office, and my desk with its view of the city and the mountains, and the regular punctuation of meetings. I miss the idle chit-chat about making coffee or what you're watching on Netflix or the weather.
All reassuringly banal, but offering the simple comfort of other people.
I miss the simple freedom to pop by and visit friends. I want to know how they're all coping with this new reality, but I can't see them to ask them.
I never got the chance to visit my dear friend's new baby, which will probably be out of nappies by the time I get a cuddle. Why didn't I make the time before? Now it's too late.
And grandparents. This is the worst of all. How strange it is not to be able to just drop by. How we took it all for granted. Sure, you can stand 10 feet away in the front garden and shout at them, but it's not quite the same, is it?
And as you can't get your three-year-old to grasp the concept of social distancing, he can't visit at all.
It's the little things you miss, but it's the little things too that keep you going, in the calm before the storm.
Listening to Joni, for one. Or afternoons spent collecting seaglass on the rocky shore with the six-year-old, marvelling at how the tiny shards of lovely blues and greens and browns are worn velvet-smooth by the waves.
Watching him gleefully fill his coat pockets, delighted with his haul, then bring it back home and tuck it away in a special box in his wardrobe, safely out of reach of his little brother.
It's the little things, like finding a killer new recipe for chicken curry, or making fluffy white bread and giving everyone an earful because they devoured it before you even got a slice.
Or going for a walk and chancing on a clutch of primroses tucked away in the tree-roots in the lane near the house. Admiring the clusters of crocuses and daffodils brightening up the verges.
Wandering round the town and watching the little family groups in rainproof jackets walking more slowly than you've ever seen them walk, because just for once, they have nowhere else that they have to be instead.
Climbing rocks at the beach and exploring long-forgotten woodland trails with the kids. Gruffalo-hunting and acorn-picking.
The familiar family rituals of dinner, bathtime, bedtime.
Finding time to still remember to laugh at things, like old episodes of 'Frasier' or 'The Trip' and wondering when Steve Coogan got so handsome.
Chuckling at the comical twist-type dance you did at the supermarket to avoid coming within two metres of fellow shoppers, while on the street outside two lovestruck teenagers were enthusiastically swapping saliva, rendering everyone else's social distancing kind of pointless.
WhatsApp, which always seemed so annoying, now seems suddenly both crucial for swapping information and - also - hilarious. Were memes always so funny? They are now. When the chips are down, people up their meme game.
Little things, like FaceTiming old friends who you can't meet up with in real life. Or rejoicing as your parents finally master the art of the video call (when we say mastering, we mean you can see their right ear and part of their jumper, but it's a step in the right direction).
Remembering to laugh at how cute and adorable the three-year-old is, even when he's climbing on your head during a conference call.
Reminding yourself that you do really love said three-year-old even after he's pulled the plug out of the computer and you've lost an hour's worth of work. You just don't get those kind of amusing distractions in the office.
So yes, for now, it's the little things.
But it's the big things that we are so very afraid of. The ones we have no control over.
For the country at large, it may be the calm before the storm, but even now, for some unfortunate families the storm has already broken. It is time to hold on, very tightly, and for as long as we can, to the little things.