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.
This scene from Kids Incorporated was actually based on one of my many recurring nightmares.
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.)
17 thoughts on “Even doves have pride.”
That was beautiful.
Touch, if you will, my stomach: see how it trembles inside?
Welcome to the light side. I’m a singer (not necessarily a good one). I remember holding court in the bus line as a first grader, singing You Ain’t Nothing but a Hound Dog, Sixteen Tons, and Tumbling Tumbleweeds. In church, I remember my daughter sitting in my lap facing me and saying, “Mommy, no sing.” But I have to tell you, if I’m singing, I’m happy, or it least I’m on my way!
make that “at least”
Recently, a video of 6 little girls singing the national anthem at a Texas basketball game was making the email rounds.
It went straight through me. I’m so used to the glossy reach-for-stars versions I completely forgot that the song had meaning.
God bless kids. They’re Hope with a ribbon.
I don’t think I attended ANY of my kid’s performances without tearing up. It’s really embarrassing.
Now that the boys are older and out of school, I haven’t had as many chances to be emotional.
Oh Girl!! I am so with you!!! My Lauren is in fifth grade and every milestone is a cause for weepy eyes right now. I wasn’t like this with my son (who’s 28 now). Maybe it’s the fact that I know for certain that no more will follow and my heart breaks just a little each time…
When did these standardized tests become SUCH a big deal? These days they have practice tests, and pep rallys and sleeping and eating tips to emphasize the tests’ importance. No wonder the kids get so freaked out. Back in my day, they told us the test would happen next week and I’d be excited because it meant no real classes and all that free time to read when I finished up the test sections early.
Well…I just traumatized my daughter with the video of scary-clown-dude and the Fergie that used to be. But I loved your post! :)
That post brought a tear to my eye AND made me laugh at the same time (puking velveeta! HA!). Plus the Fergie clip was priceless! They DO put too much emphasis on the testing these days – and NOT for the kids’ benefit! Well, directly anyway. I guess, if the kids do well, the schools do well and if the schools do well, tehy get money, which then benefits the kids. But shit, isn’t there a better way?
I kind of hear what you are saying. Mostly, though, I can only hear the Kids Inc. theme song because I stumbled down a Kids Inc path by clicking that dangerous link you have up there. I have watched many of my once favorite 80’s tunes die an ugly death thanks to Kids, Inc. and youtube. Oddly one of the best Saturday nights I have spent in a while. Oddly and sadly.
If you want something to bring a tear to your eye, and you can’t get teary over kids (sorry, my hormones just weren’t made that way, check out ‘Susan Boyle’ on YouTube. If you aren’t crying within 30 seconds, you abs0lutely have no heart…
This American Life did a really cool piece about the Most Unwanted Song Ever, and it combines all of the elements most people hate most in music — one of which is children’s voices.
Perhaps, in your new, softy state, you might like it…
My kids’ school did a patriotic assembly a few years ago and I went. It was so traumatic. Seeing all these kids dressed in their red-white-and blue and singing with so much heart the songs that you don’t hear that much any more. I was a mess. Now, the music teacher is battling colon cancer. He loves the Beatles so each grade is learning a Beatles’ song and they are going to sing for him and make a CD. The thought of that breaks my heart. They do not understand the gravity of this particular situation, so they are just singing away to make him feel better. I am sure that it will do just that, but I may cry every time I hear “It’s been a Hard Day’s Night.” Go Third Grade!!
Wow, I’m feeling you here. I don’t have a problem with children singing, but I usually have problems with songs about singing. It’s like soap opera dialog that sounds like people talking about what happened last week on their soap opera. Just sing already and get over yourself.
But recently I’ve rediscovered one of the sappiest and most beloved things from my childhood. Yes, I admit, I just bought The Carpenters’ Now and Then album on iTunes. And lo and behold, the very first song is not only a song about singing, but it also features a very eerie children’s choir. Makes me all teary-eyed every time I hear it.
I couldn’t find a good video of Sing on YouTube that wasn’t in Japanese, or else I’d share…
The Grinch’s heart was ultimately undone by the Who’s singing. It gets to us all. And the Jonas Brothers? We all kinda dig them, even if we claim not to.
We just finished up with CSAPs here in Co, they truly suck. No joy. No singing. Smacks of the Republicans if you ask me…..
My daughter’s last elementary school music concert was last night, I can’t believe she starts middle school next year, it feels like she was just starting kindergarten. I had a tear in my eye last night, so I totally understand. If you ever need anyone to cry with, give me a call.
My sons preschool graduation is in a few weeks. We have one deaf mommy so the entire class is learning how to sing “What a wonderful world” in sign as a surprise for her. I cry just watching them practice. They will also be singing so it may be creepy and touching at the same time!
Comments are closed.