Monday, March 1, 2021

10 Years Later

Playing with toys at daycare, circa 2013. Daycare still has all of these toys.

Today is a big milestone for me. Through my flu-like symptoms from my second Covid vaccination, I've thought a lot about the meaning of this day. The date was March 1, 2011. We were living in a small, three bedroom duplex that we loved (we still love that small duplex and all of the memories it holds). On that morning at 9 a.m., I opened our house for the first time to children other than my own. A room that would later become our third child's bedroom, held two shelves of toys for our playroom. I went into that day believing this would be short term thing. Within weeks I had more inquiries about care. Within months, I had a house full of children. I had to register my business and settled on Ashlen's Daycare. Super original, I know.

Ten years later, I'm thinking about that short term gig and all that it's brought me. So many times, life has a way of bringing you exactly what you need and showing you the way. That's exactly what happened with me. It has led me to every single one of my passions and has provided me the opportunities to pursue each of them. 

The last year has brought it's challenges. The world shut down and I wasn't needed. Instead of being one of the shuttered businesses, my daycare families, some who have been with me since the beginning, rallied around me. They paid me, they kept me/my family afloat, they sent gift cards and dinners, and words of encouragement. I knew I was meant to be here. As life slowly reopened, the needs changed. I was suddenly teacher/daycare provider/homeschool teacher all in one. It wasn't, and still isn't, easy, but I knew I was meant to be here.

After so many years doing the same job, the same things day after day, it's easy for one to think about the next step. The next change. Before March 2020, I had pondered such thoughts. But nothing seemed "right." So I kept going. Then March 2020 came. I found myself doing all new things, providing new services and landing in new roles. Nothing could have prepared me for all of that except my daycare provider experience. 

Today, I've never been more thanful for my daycare business, families, and every bit of experience I've gotten. I likely won't be questioning if I'm where I need to be any time soon. If you had told me on that March 1 day in 2011 that THIS is where I'd be, I wouldn't have believed you. I wouldn't have believed that I would have 20+ kids I consider "mine." I wouldn't have believed that I would be homeschooling my kids AND being able to run my business because of my amazing families. I wouldn't have believed that more than 80% of my house is made up of toys and every thing I do is with daycare in mind. I wouldn't have believed I could be so invested in a career. I wouldn't have believed that this is exactly where I'm supposed to be.

Due to my second dose of the Covid vaccination, I have a couple of days off, but you can be sure that on Wednesday, the kids and I will be shoving cake in our mouths and celebrating this milestone.