At the storytelling festival, I was enjoying a wonderful story by Donald Davis, when Ariah leaned toward me and said, “Daddy, I have to go potty.” Alas, when a two-year-old make such a statement, immediate action must be taken or dire consequences can follow. So we walked to a restroom facility. One side was for women, the other side was for men. I tried to take her to the men’s room, but she protested with, “I’m not a boy,” trying to lead me into the women’s room.
“Yes,” I said, “but I’m not a girl, and you’re going to need my help.” I directed her back to the men’s room.
“No!” she insisted. “I’m a girl!”
“Let’s be reasonable,” I said. “I’m big, and you’re little. No one will care if I take you into the men’s room, but people will care a great deal if I follow you into the women’s room.
Nevertheless, she laid her foot down, absolutely refusing to enter the men’s room.
“All right,” I said. “You go into the women’s room, but you’re going to have to do it all by yourself.”
She did, entering a stall as soon as a woman came out. The woman kindly lingered to make sure that Ariah was all right. Finally the woman came to me and said, “I think she needs help. If you want to enter, I’ll make sure that no one else enters.”
Grateful for this, I joined my daughter, who had the runs and wasn’t going anywhere any time soon. “Daddy,” she said, “you need to sing.”
“I’m not going to sing,” I said.
“You need to sing,” she insisted.
I looked outside and saw that a line of women was beginning to form, held back by our kind mediator. I turned back to Ariah. “You need to hurry. People are waiting.”
Seeing that I wasn’t going to sing, she began to sing her favorite song by herself. “I am a child of God, and he has sent me here, has given me an earthly home, with parents kind and dear …”
It was very sweet, but the place and time were wrong. “Are you done yet?” I asked, seeing the line grow longer. The answer was no. “Are you done yet?” I asked again and again. The answer was always no until the line had grown quite long. Finally Ariah was done singing and done with her business. When, at last, we had washed her hands and exited the building, the line of women applauded us on our way out.