November 11, 2015

Sitting on the floor with 20 to 30 kids, reading, laughing and, at the end of each session, singing the Tigger theme song.

Both of my kids attended Red Oak Elementary School. Since they are five years apart, the two kids were consecutively in elementary school for more than 10 years. Nearly every Friday morning for those 10 years, I was in one, or both, of their classrooms reading to their classes. The books changed each week and year after year. It was a way of giving back to the community, showing the kids that I wanted to be involved in their lives and that their parents valued education — especially reading, which is the key to education. But mostly, I did it because it was just fun. Sitting on the floor with 20 to 30 kids, reading, laughing and, at the end of every session, singing Tigger’s theme song. You know it… “The wonderful thing about Tiggers, is Tiggers are wonderful things, their tops are made out of rubber…” The kids would sing with me, and we would “whisper sing” the entire song except for the last line — “I’m the only one!” On that verse, I would have the kids scream the words out at the top of their lungs — every time, every age, every grade. When my daughter had wrapped up her last year at Red Oak and we were finally, sadly, done with elementary school, her mother and I went to the culmination ceremony. It was a pretty emotional day and I could not have been more surprised by the way it ended. The school was filled with kids, parents, family, teachers and administrators. The principal came out as they were wrapping up. He said they had a special treat for the audience and then the entire school starting singing the Tigger song. They were whispering at first and then all of them, every last one, ended the song by screaming out “I’m the only one! Of course, I was deeply touched. I started crying, though for years I’ve denied crying and blamed it on wind or sand in my eyes. Even as I write this, 15 years later, I can still feel the wind in my eyes as I remember them saying, “I’m the only one!”