Being a parent is a lot of things, most of which you've heard already; but trust me, unless you are a parent, you really don't understand what they mean.
Over the years I heard my mom say things like, "Having you kids has been the greatest thing that ever happened to me" and "I don't know what I'd do if something ever happened to you." At the time, in that moment, I (like most people) thought it was just mom being mom, paying lip service, etc., etc. Once I became a parent, it was all so clear to me; and yet, it's almost indescribable. My sister-in-law put it the best I've heard: "Did you ever think you could love someone so completely and totally?" She really hit that one out of the park... most people think of their significant others and say something to the effect of "I am totally in love with this person" and "I love everything about them." Cameron Crowe, in "Jerry Maguire," said "you complete me." In truth, the only time you ever really, honestly feel like this is when you are a parent.
The mere thought of your child being hurt sends a deep ache through your body and tears to your eyes. Their cries can slice through you like a lightsaber. Their smiles and laughter can take your soul higher than it's ever been. Truly, one can see divinity in a child's face.
I realize I'm not making much sense in this post, but tonight I'm writing totally off the hip, as opposed to my usual half off the hip approach. There is much swirling through my mind and heart. This is just a method for me to release it. If you are a parent, hug your child and tell them you love them. NOW.