It's not nearly the experience you thought it would be.
There are moments of aching splendor, when you look around and think "Wow, this is what life is" and the whole world sparkles more brightly than noon-day sun.
There will be those times when you can't stand to look at another dirty diaper, another dirty floor, another load of laundry, another finger print on your just washed window, another toothbrush in the toilet, another child or husband or wife.
There will come a day when you realize that cleaning up when it happens is less effort than letting it dry/stain/set/settle.
You will make your bed, most days, even though you're just going to sleep in it again. And you'll wish your child made his/hers too.
You will compromise most of the standards you set about "never letting my child do that."
You will yell louder and longer than you remember your parents ever did.
The first wrinkle will show up, right next to the gray hairs that sprouted, and you'll feel like you're getting old too soon.
You will realize your parents must have thought that too.
You will be uncool, unhuggable, unlikeable, unapproachable. But that (pretty much) passes.
You will see more gross things than the people in medical school.
Sometimes laughter comes uncontrollably, piercing through all the emotions you've been holding in.
Eventually your kids will probably make a choice you don't like, go a way you can't go, grow up and change into fully formed free thinkers.
It hurts more than childbirth, more than death, more than free falling from the top of the stairs. Because the pain is laced with joy and gratitude.
It doesn't turn on and off, it goes on 24/7/365, through the rising and setting of the moon and sun, through New Years and Reunions, through waking and dreams.
You wouldn't trade it, but you might do some parts over if only to take away that 'look' on their face.
It's a flash of time but also your whole life.
You can't remember, really, when it began and you hope it never ends.
There will be days when every fault and shortcoming is magnified by the minute.