"In looking back, I realize that, for them, being a parent was something the learned by trial and error; that mistakes were made and forgiven, even as my own were. They were two imperfect and flawed human beings whose actions were recognition and protection of that brave bargain that is parenthood." - L.B. Johnson (if you don't already know who she is [and you really should], ask me via email)
Once upon a time, I heard it said that parenting is the only profession left up entirely to amateurs. There is no class that can adequately prepare you for parenthood. The reality of getting up at 2:00 AM to feed a baby or change the sheets that were just violated unspeakably has to be experienced. The responsibility to care for, protect, guide and educate an innocent, clean slate of a human being weighs heavily on the shoulders, but it is not a burden to suffered. Rather, it is a forge that strengthens you and tempers you and the results can be as rough or refined as the effort you put into it.
Children are a blessing. Treat them as such and cherish every moment with them.