Editor's note: Jenna is blogging about her adventures through pregnancy. Here's this week's installment of Jenna's (Baby) Food for Thought.
There are certain rules that society lays out for us that we're encouraged to follow: Be kind to elders, whisper in libraries, tip your waiters, mature gently into adulthood. It's that last one I'd like to contest -- or at least toss an asterisk up to. Let me explain.
This past weekend I took my last little vacation before this baby arrives. It was the first piece of advice I was given when I told people I was pregnant.
Me: I'm pregnant!
Everyone: Go on vacation!!
Me: Good talk.
So this wasn't quite a babymoon, because it wasn't with Steph; we've got a nice long weekend planned towards the end of summer. It was more like a "bestfriendbabymoon." I came down to Bermuda with my best friend, Marni.
Marni was the first friend I made when I moved up to the United States from the Caribbean 25 years ago. (I can't even believe I'm old enough to say I did something 25 years ago.) We’ve been friends ever since. Like most 9th graders at the time, we made a pact to stay friends -- and stay silly -- forever. But unlike most 9th graders, we actually kept it. The “friends” part was easy. The consistent silliness was not. That took years of immaturity, tons of poor planning, and more ridiculously embarrassing situations than I could count. Marni and I could laugh at a joke so old, we couldn't remember its origin. We could tell and retell a story so many times, we'd lose track of why we were telling it. And no matter how mature we were asked to be the rest of the year -- jobs, kids, marriage, family -- when together, even today, we remain the same 13-year-old girls who could and would find everything – everything -- funny.
But throughout all of this, there was the promise that no matter where our lives took us -- boyfriends (or girlfriends), kids, locations -- we'd always take a few days every year to go away and hone that aforementioned ridiculousness.
And that brings us to this week.
A beach resort in Bermuda: Perfect sea, sand, sun and setting for my last-ever vacation without kids. Marni went away with me right before she had her first child and now, as promised, I'm doing the same.
Marni has been married 10 years now, with two amazing children: 7-year-old daughter, Devyn, and 4-year-old son, Tyler. She's a fabulous mother. Of all the books I've been advised to read on being pregnant or raising children, the only source I've consulted on numerous occasions thus far is the Book of Marni. She is real. She is honest. She teaches, she guides, she protects. She doesn't over-coddle her kids, she doesn't tell them they're the best at everything they do, she doesn't accept whining or complaining or bad excuses (she's fine with the good ones though). She doesn't restrict TV, but they can't watch all day. She doesn't restrict the iPad, but they only get limited time on it. She's doesn't hesitate to give them a time out and is perfectly comfortable dangling said timeout in front of those kids to get them to do certain things.
All that being said, she gives those kids more love, more time and more opportunities than anyone I've ever met. Every ounce of her being goes into those children.
So for me, a first time, soon-to-be-mom, I'm smart enough to know what I don't know... (I'll avoid a list or we'd be here all day) And I've learned that babysitting and spending time with other people's small kids does not a parent make.
Me to my nephew Max: Max, did you have fun at the park with me for the last hour?
Me: I'm gonna be an amazing mom.
So to get my share of parental guidance, I spend time with Marni.
Does it amaze me that this is the same girl who trusted me to teach her how to drive a stick shift car with her parents new SUV? The same girl who I convinced (when we were on vacation back in college), to pretend we had British accents for a whole week? The same girl who, in high school, would come with me to the mall, where we'd consistently and stupidly spend all of our money (including train money) and be shamefully forced to have our moms come pick us up?
Yup. Same girl.
That's the girl I vacation with. That's the girl I run to when nostalgia calls. That's the girl who keeps me laughing as consistently as I breathe.
And now that I'm pregnant and I'm ready to start a family of my own, who do I run to for mature, sound, solid, parenting advice on how to raise crazy kids in this crazy world?
Yup. Same girl.