I know everyone has different experiences with other children before having their own, and I understand some people seem to be better at parenting quicker than others. However, in speaking with many other parents, and definitely with my own experience, the biggest change about becoming a parent is a complete washing away of your preconceived notions about being a parent. I have over a dozen nephews and nieces, and have always loved being around kids. I never hesitated to hold a baby and I even never shied away from diaper changes. My wife and I had many years together before having our first child, and I thought my experience had prepared me for an easy time parenting. I WAS WRONG! The biggest lesson I hadn't learned until that snowy November day was that I really didn't know what I didn't know. Since that day I've learned that hourly fire drills throughout the nights in basic training hadn't prepared me for the sleep deprivation that I have now endured. I learned that no matter how many times I swore I'd never give my baby a pacifier, sometimes a pacifier is the old thing that will end the piercing cries of a newborn. I learned that those parents at the grocery store looking like warmed over death on Saturday morning aren't necessarily lazy, but likely are in a hurry to get that one thing their baby has to have and get back home before their spouse voluntarily checked into a nutt house. I know this sounds horrible, but I've also learned some happy lessons as well. I've learned that holding that tiny piece of you the first time is the first time you'll truly experience 100% unconditional love. I've learned that seeing that beautiful face after a long day is far more relaxing than any drug or alcohol. I've learned that a soft kiss on a knee can truly make a booboo feel better. The most important lesson I've learned from becoming a parent though is that I was completely clueless as to what the title of parent and the joy and responsibility that come with it actually meant. I'm not a perfect parent and definitely not a perfect person. I don't know it all when it comes to pareting. What I do know is that nothing you ever do in your life will prepare you to be a parent. The best way to get through it though, is to keep reminding yourself that nobody else was really prepared to become a parent either. It's all on the job training.