Potty Chairs and Advice

“I just came here for potty chairs and advice” the young woman said softly. She looked around the room and her eyes filled with tears.

My daughter stood across from her and smiled knowingly. It seemed a lifetime ago, she was sitting at her kitchen table with her family, discussing the idea of opening her own business. She had a dream of running an in-home daycare. This dream would require a huge leap of faith. But with the love and support of her family and friends, she took that leap.

Two weeks later, the universe tried to derail her. She watched as the world closed down, but her course was set. Her energy never faltered. Her loved ones offered support and helped to solve problems and she stayed the course. During those next few months, she was committed to meet her opening day goal. Maybe the universe wasn’t trying to derail her. Maybe it was just challenging her.

One of the lessons 2020 taught us was that in the face of adversity… when the human race was collectively facing a terrifying unknown… humanity shows up. There was a surge of kindness and generosity that hadn’t been seen in previous years.

Short on funds and time (after leaving a long-time career behind), she scrambled to gather the equipment, furniture and supplies she would need to open her doors to her new Littles.

She scoured social media for ads and local garage sales. What happened next took her by surprise. At her first stop, the seller met her at the curb with a cheery, “Here, take it… it’s yours!” Stunned, she would go to the next stop and encounter the same. She arrived home with a trunk full of more supplies than she needed! She kept what she needed and donated any excess. Her husband helped to create a unique outdoor play area, and she transformed her living/dining room into a magical learning space. Family members helped her with odds and ends, and on May 26th, 2020, my daughter officially opened “Miss Ashley’s Daycare”.

The young woman introduced herself, “I’m Ashley.”

My daughter, also Ashley, blinked.

The young woman had seen my daughter’s ad about selling her daycare items. After 3 years (almost to the day the pandemic began), my daughter had decided it was time to close this chapter of her life and move on. It was a tough decision, but the right one. The young woman had stopped by to purchase two potty chairs and ask my daughter for some advice about starting her own daycare.

She had a young son with a heart defect, and no daycares would accept him because of that. So, she kept him home and began watching some children on the side. When the child’s father not only left, but signed away his parental rights, she knew she had to do something to be able to stay home and support her little family. The idea of officially opening a daycare began to take shape.

As the young woman told her story, my daughter began to gather all the binders she had put together when starting her business. Offering tips and help, she watched as the young woman hung on every word. Then she remembered something.

“You know, I’m having a garage sale tomorrow with the rest of my daycare stuff. Would you like to take a look?”

The young woman nodded and followed her into the garage, her eyes wide with excitement. She began to point at one thing, and then another, and another. She looked back at my daughter and said, I want it all! Let me call my friend and ask if I can borrow some money. How much do you want for everything?

Ashley looked around at the disassembled pieces of the last three years. She remembered her excitement as she acquired each piece. How she had arranged, then rearranged her play area. She recalled her heart swelling with the generosity of others. Then she made a decision.

She turned to the young woman, “You can have it.”


“Yes, you can have it all. No charge. And if you need me to come by and take a look around, I can give you pointers too.”

The young woman began to protest, but my daughter stopped her. “Listen, most of this was donated to me at the beginning. I had so much support, and it meant everything to me. And for a while, all of this stuff brought me and my Littles lots of joy. But now it’s time for a new chapter, and it would do my heart good to pay it forward by giving it all to you.”

From one Ashley to another.

The young woman blinked back tears, “And to think, I just came here for potty chairs and advice.”

Author’s Note: 

It’s 2023 folks. Three years have passed since the world changed. We have all been through a lot. Times are different now. A lot of what we took for granted has vanished. Who knows if or when life will return to what we knew as “normal”. But in the meantime, how about we take the lessons we learned, along with all the kindness and generosity we experienced, and begin to pay it forward. We are at risk of losing an entire generation by being terrible examples. The lack of human kindness is not the legacy we should leave to our children.

Plant a garden, bake some bread, walk your dog, visit your grandparents. Read a book, call a friend, donate to food pantries, use your turn signal. Drink your coffee inside the coffee shop, stay out of comment sections, don’t judge people, and tip generously. Hug your children, spoil your grandchildren, ask for help, and vote. It’s not rocket science. But it is contagious.


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