By Chloé Taylor
I’m one of those annoying career women who waited until their early 30s (okay, late 30s, but who’s counting?) to consider getting married and having a family. When I was growing up, I never pictured myself in layers of white satin, trucking down the aisle and jumping into the arms of my personal Prince Charming. Instead of Barbie, I was playing with my brother’s Tonka trucks and Star Wars action figures or reading girl-detective novels and listening to rock and roll on vinyl. I never dreamed of being Mummy; I dreamed of being a writer, a business woman or a rock star.
A few years ago, I took a step back from my busy life and decided it was time for a change. I was a single workaholic, burning bright but definitely burning out. I left my job, spent a year travelling across this dazzling country and focussed on building a life and future for myself that didn’t just involve my work. Over the course of my travels I discarded most of my possessions, discovered many new passions, and met the love of my life. The love of my life asked me to marry him and, surprising myself and anyone who knows me, I gleefully agreed to don the dress and throw the party of my life. Planning is in progress.
My fiancé and I don’t plan to have children, but after returning to Ottawa last year, I realized the joy in being surrounded by kids. My friends have all had children in the past ten years and I get to spend lots of time being Aunt Chloé to a throng of little ones. From calm serenity to absolute joyful chaos, each family has a different way of managing their children, and I admire all of them for doing so well on so little sleep. What seems to work the best? Not too much sugar, lots of free playtime and love by the bucketful. That works for me too, now that I think about it.
In an age of blended and non-traditional families, there is more variety than ever in what the word family really means. For me, family means being surrounded by those you love, sharing the joys and struggles of life, learning from each other and taking care of each other. Most of my own kin are spread across the globe and while I miss them, I can celebrate their travels and adventures and build the family I have here: my dear friends, their amazing children and, of course, my own personal Prince Charming.
What does family mean to you?