Today I surprised my son at school. I secretly set myself up as the very last Mystery Reader for the 1st graders in Mrs S's class and today was the day. I hit up the library for a great selection of books and then nervously made my way to the school office to sign in.
Nervous? Sounds crazy, right? What could possibly be nerve wracking about reading to a bunch of opinionated, trying-to-be-cool-but-they're-still-little first graders?
I was just worried that I wouldn't pick the right books and they wouldn't enjoy them or something. Then I reminded myself about how I was going to make my little/big boy's day and how kids LOVE to be read to so I went in confidently. Mostly.
As soon as I rounded the corner, I spotted Mrs S standing outside her door with a smile on her face. She said that the kids were trying to guess who it could possibly be. She leaned in the door and said, "Are you ready to find out who your Mystery Reader is?" And I heard the roar of 20+ first graders shouting "YES!!!"
As soon as I showed my face in the classroom, they all yelled "Samuel!!!!" Samuel's face registered shock and his mouth dropped open! He quickly made his way up to me, beaming. I am smiling from ear to ear as I write this!
Mrs. S asked him to introduce me to the class and his sweet face was red as he told them I was "Mrs Thomas." I got to sit in a big rocking chair at the front of the room, while the kids were sitting indian-style on the carpet. I brought 3 books, just in case, not sure how long I would get to read. I got to read all of them. As soon as I held up the first book "Rhyming Dust Bunnies" by Jan Thomas, they reacted with a lot of joy and shouting of "I LOVE that book!!"
I pretended to be disappointed and said, "Aw, then maybe since most of you have read it, we shouldn't read it today..." They quickly overrode my suggestion with glee:) They loved all the bright pictures and laughed at all the silliness and then we read "The Doghouse" by the same author. Only a handful of the class had read that one and they all seemed to really enjoy it, too!
Then we got to read an easy chapter book about "Mercy Watson" the pig. It's just the greatest feeling in the world to have a whole class dancing in the palm of your hand because you're making a silly, imaginative world come alive for them. They smile, they look worried, they laugh, they frown at all of your voices and all of the twists and turns of the story. Looking around at their sweet little, captive faces, makes every nerve fly out the window and pure happiness and enjoyment takes over.
Especially when you look down at your feet and there is your sweet boy feeling like the luckiest boy in the world because his mommy was the special reader that day.
I loved it.
A few pages until the end, things got a little hairy when a giant beetle joined the group on the rug and caused some chaos. Mrs S quickly got them under control and we were able to finish with a few minutes to spare til the bell rang. They all said "Thank you!!!" together:)
After they all had their bags on and were lining up to go outside to meet their parents, one of the girls asked me how my foot was. I told her it was much better and then a boy asked me if I'd gotten their cards. I'm not sure if I ever mentioned that the entire class made me get well cards the day of my surgery and they were the cutest cards in the world! I got asked many times if I got to ride in a wheelchair and told by so many classmates that Samuel was awesome and cool and he was a good friend:)
I thanked them for the cards and told them how much I had loved them which made them so happy, you could tell. And then right before they marched out the door, one of the girls turned around and shyly said, "You're so pretty." And the girl next to her nodded and said, "Yeah, you are." So sweet!
It brought back all my memories of wanting to be a kindergarten or first grade teacher so long ago!!
I hope Samuel remembers this day at least a little. I know I will:)