That day I looked it up online. Katarina agreed to watch one episode with me. Reminding me that both of us were way too old for this, but agreeing that we should watch it at least once in memory of Mr. Rogers, and to catch a glimpse of the cat who shares her name.
Katarina had an orthodontist appointment last week. There are two sides to the waiting room, each with its own tv. When we walked in, I immediately noticed someone's little sister had come to their appointment with them, because there was a four year old little girl sitting on one side of the room by herself, watching Daniel Tiger.
"Daniel Tiger's on the tv!" I excitedly whisper-yelled to Katarina as she walked toward the desk to check in, "Let's go sit on that side of the room and watch it."
I ignored her loud sigh as I sat down to watch Daniel's mom read him a bedtime story.
"Look! His pajamas have trolleys on them. Trolleys!" I exclaimed. "How great is that!?!"
"It's great, mom."
At this point, Thomas walked into the office and sat on the other side of me.
"We're watching Daniel Tiger. You might get to see Katarina Kitty Cat," I whispered, "and just look at his trolley pajamas."
"I need coffee," was his only response.
"Mr. McFeely!" I exclaimed, looking over at Katarina to make sure she saw him, and elbowing Thomas. "Oh! This makes me so happy. I love the Neighborhood of Make-Believe."
I sat there between Katarina with her eyes rolling and Thomas muttering about how there wasn't enough coffee in the world.
"It's almost over. Sad. Oooh! Look! Daniel Tiger has a stoplight in his house!"
"I recognize that music. Is he? He is! ..... It's such a good feeling to know you're alive. It's such a happy feeling you're growing inside. And when you wake up ready to say, I think I'll make a snappy new day. It's such a good feeling, a very good feeling. The feeling you know, that I'll be back when the day is new, and I'll have more ideas for you, and you'll have things you want to talk about. I. will. too."
As I sang along with Daniel Tiger, snapping my fingers in the right place, the eye rolling intensified, and Katarina whispered, " Mom. Seerriioouusslly. You are more excited than that little girl, and she's four year old."
It is clear that I have become one of those embarrassing moms. Not all the time, mostly just when Daniel Tiger is around, but I don't feel even a little bit ashamed. I was just so happy to have even a little bit of Mister Rogers in my day.
I'm pretty sure Mister Rogers would have sang with Daniel Tiger in the waiting room, too, if it made him happy. I'll never be too cool, or too old, to sing along with a Mister Rogers' song.