The sound of children singing has always given me the creeps. Even when I WAS a kid, my flesh often crawled during the elementary concerts when I had to stand on the risers and sing with the other kids my age. Those scary movies that feature kids warbling hymns as the final credits roll? Yeah. The guy in charge of that decision nailed it.
Last week during my kindergarten volunteer time, I found myself walking down the third grade hall as the kids were taking a break from their MAP testing. During my stroll toward the kindergarten classrooms, I noticed at least five signs in the hallway reminding the kids to always do their best, eat a good breakfast every day (the cafeteria provides a free breakfast for every student, believe it or not), and stay silent while in the halls.
I couldn’t help but notice that the kids looked a bit stressed out. A few were yawning as they waited to use the drinking fountain. Three or four were releasing some energy by doing jumping jacks. Some were simply staring at the floor—waiting to be corralled back into the classroom to fill in more squares with a No. 2 pencil.
Seeing the kids looking so worried affected me. In my world, third graders are not supposed to be stressed. They’re supposed to be cheery! Everyone is happy! We’re all friends! No war! No plastic toys! No peanut allergies!
And then I heard it. As I continued down the hall to Meredith’s classroom (believe me, it’s a really long walk), I heard a tiny voice singing Lovebug by the Jonas Brothers. (Parenthetical Confession: I don’t hate that song. iTunes can back me up on that. I know.) As I passed the next drinking fountain, I saw that the voice was coming from a tiny little girl who looked to be about Meredith’s age. As I walked past her, she smiled at me and the voices in her head told her to start skipping down the hall as she continued to sing. Yes. She was skipping.
Anyway, seeing the third graders looking a bit distressed and then hearing this little happy voice and the sound of her feet as she skipped away from me coupled with the smell of pencils and crayons and, well, kids? My eyes welled up and I got a lump the size of a (freakishly large) potato in my throat. (Actually, I have the lump and the eye thing right now! I can’t even tell the story without puking Velveeta!!)
Something has shifted within me, Internet. I’ve gone soft.
And the worst news of all? Tonight is Meredith’s kindergarten spring concert. While the other parents kick back and check their watches as the kids sing songs about fairy tales, I’m going to be the lady in the third row who suffers facial spasms as she tries to fight the urge to weep. I’ll surely lose the battle if they sing anything that even remotely resembles The Second Star to the Right. In fact, I can’t promise that I won’t sink to the floor and reenact the Glenn Close shower scene from The Big Chill. (Obviously, I’ll keep my clothes on, because I’m sort of classy.)