The Flute

May 30, 2007 at 11:37 pm 26 comments


It was the Saturday of spring break (two months ago) when my 17-year-old son, Reggie, asked if we could go to Long & McQuade, a musical instrument store down on Pembina Highway.  He said he wanted to try out flutes.  I thought he was just bored and wanted to visit the store.

We have been to this store about six months before and he tried out a few flutes.  He wanted to buy a new one. I’m talking about a professional flute here and not like the beginner’s flute that he owns right now.  But it was way beyond our means.  We also went to St. John’s Music Store on Portage Avenue to look for a less expensive one.  But he didn’t find one that he liked.

We all went down to Pembina that Saturday.  I also dragged his two younger brothers as we were also going to the mall afterwards to buy them new shoes and shirts.  I tell you, these kids shoot up like bamboos.  Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but they do outgrow their clothes fast.

When we got to Long & McQuade, Reggie went straight to the farther end of the store.  He already knew where the flutes were.  He asked the salesclerk for what I thought was the same flute that he tried back in August.  The clerk unlocked the glass case where the flutes were displayed.  He then ushered Reggie to a small room farther back where he could play it.

Meanwhile, the boys and I checked out the other instruments that were on display.  There were different kinds of saxophones, trombones, trumphets, etc.  There was a big xylophone and although I told the boys not to touch it, they still did.

About ten minutes have passed and the boys were starting to get bored.  We went closer to the room where we could hear Reggie playing the flute.  There were racks of music books outside the room and we browsed through some of them.  There was a piano by the wall.  Ryland and I tried tapping the keys although no sound came out of it.  Ryan sat on the stool just outside the door of the small room.

Another ten minutes passed.  “Isn’t he done yet?”  “When are we going home?”  The two boys asked.  “Let’s go inside and watch him play,” I told them.  We went inside the little room and Reggie was still playing the flute.  It was just a tiny room and too cramped so we went out again.

After about ten more minutes, Reggie came out with the flute in his hand.  “I want to ask him if I can bring this home,” he said.  “What bring home are you talking about?”  I asked him.  “I don’t think they’ll let you bring it home.”  That’s when it struck me that he wanted to buy it.

So I asked the clerk how much it cost, although I already had an idea and I had no intention of buying it.  As I’ve already mentioned, the flutes were kept in a locked case.  That’s because they are dear, as in high-priced.  $5100 my dear readers. This was even more expensive than the $3,000 flute he tried last time. “Reggie, you know we can’t afford to buy this now,“ I explained to him.  I knew that he was aware of that.  But I also knew that he had really wanted to replace his flute, which he has had for over five years now.

I asked the clerk if they had any financial arrangements that they could offer us.  “We can’t afford this kind of money right now,” I told the clerk.  “He’s going to New York in May and I have to shell out $2000 for that.  Then he’s going to university in the Fall and I have to pay thousands of dollars for that too.”  I explained all these to the clerk while Reggie stood there and all these explanations were actually intended for him and not the poor clerk who had no idea of our financial situations.  The clerk gave me a few options of how we could pay for it, but still, he wanted the instrument to be paid up within a year and even the monthly payments on that would still be beyond our budget.  I told him that we would think about it and we left the store.

sankyo silver sonic O-B

This is the Sankyo Silver Sonic O-B, the $5100 flute that Reggie wanted to buy.

When we were on our way to the car, I asked Reggie if he wanted to use a new flute when he goes to university, was there something wrong with his flute, why did he want so badly to buy a new one?  “Well, it’s a piece of junk,” he said.  “Ouch,” I said to myself.  I was glad the flute wasn’t there with us to hear that line, or I would have covered its ears.  But then again, a flute is a thing and it doesn’t have ears or emotions.  I just felt bad to hear him say that this thing that he caresses every day, this thin silver instrument that he plays every single day, this thing that earns him applause every time he performs at a concert, is a piece of junk.

I understand his need to upgrade his instrument.  After all, he’s moving on to a higher education and more advanced music courses.  Also, he’s been playing this flute everyday for almost six years now.  It has been used many a times and has probably outlived its life expectancy.  And I also realize that he knew we don’t have that kind of money.  He has mentioned before about taking a summer job.  So I suggested that to him.  But then again, I don’t think he could save up enough money to buy that flute in only two months.  But at least it would help.  Let’s say, he saves $2000 at the most, he would still need $3000.  We still can’t afford that.  Here I am, already working extra hours every week. But it seems that the extra money I earn is still not enough.

I want to provide my kids with the things they need and want.  It was a lot easier when he was younger when he’d ask for a new toy, or game, or CD.  Sure there were times when they had to wait when he and his brothers asked for the Playstation or each of their Gameboys, but I somehow managed to give them those, too.  Now that he’s older, his wants are getting bigger and more expensive.

I know parents who would buy their children their own car and then they would take a second or even a third job.  With all these overwhelming expenses in raising these three growing children, I have also considered looking for a second job.  It’s really good that we are always busy at work and overtime has always been open.  And with all these extra hours that I work, it’s really like I have a second (part-time) job.

Sometimes I feel bad that I am not able to provide them with the things that they want.  But yet again, even if I were able to, I wouldn’t want to give in to everything that they ask.  I didn’t have a lot when I was growing up.  And I have learned that I can’t always have what I want. That’s also what I want my children to learn.  And that sometimes, if you want something big or expensive, you have to work hard for it.


Entry filed under: My life as a mom, Raising the 3Rs, Reggie and his music, Roadblocks.

Let’s do The Twist The Sights of New York

26 Comments Add your own

  • 1. earthember  |  May 31, 2007 at 12:27 am

    I can understand your predicament. I agree that kids can’t always have what they want. And yes, they have to work hard for it.

    I know, sometimes, it feels really bad to turn down your children, esp when it’s not really something that is bad for them. Have a talk with Reggie and help him to understand. The sad truth is, he may not really understand now, but in future he will.

    I was brought up in a similar way. Now I truly understand why my parents didn’t spurge on me.

  • 2. tin  |  May 31, 2007 at 3:03 am

    My brother is just like Reggie. Whenever we go to mall, he usually go to the music section and try out the guitars. Mom couldn’t able to buy what he wants because its beyond our means too. The guitar he wants cost Php 72,000. But Josh understand our financial stability. But still, every time we go to the mall, he’ll always visit the music section to check if the guitar is still there.

  • 3. Lazarus  |  May 31, 2007 at 3:04 am

    wow! that’s very expensive!

    Maybe Regie wants a new flute when he enter a higher education to impress that new people he’ll meet. And that he felt that he deserves a new one.

    I can understand your situation, niceheart.

  • 4. julie  |  May 31, 2007 at 5:00 am

    Expensive indeed. Maybe he thinks this particular flute would be impressive when he goes to college. Maybe he feels he needs to upgrade the instrument he uses so he wouldn’t feel “out-of-place”. There could be a hundred reasons why he wants that particular flute. It is good though that you explain to him why he can’t have it. Yet. After all, it isn’t really the instrument he plays but the passion and love he has for music that makes him stand out.

  • 5. Kyels  |  May 31, 2007 at 5:36 am

    I do understand your situation too ate niceheart. It happens to mom as well because my brothers are growing up too and like what you’ve written, their needs and expenses will grow too. My two younger brothers are into tennis and one of them is planning to go pro and sometimes, he tend to ask mom for an expensive racquet, like the new Wilson ranges. Though mom is able to afford it, she will never get it for them and she said to us once, one cannot have everything under the sun. And the skills that one has is not because of how expensive the racquet is. It’s all within oneself.

    Sometimes, I have my needs too, but I hardly ask from them, my parents. I know that they had pay for my education and that’s expensive, so whenever I want something badly, I will try by all means to save up for it. Like how badly I want a iPod video now, but still saving for it.

    I am sure Reggie will be able to understand you. It can be a temporary thing and I am sure he is mature enough to know the financial standings.


  • 6. Belle  |  May 31, 2007 at 10:41 pm

    i understand your dilemma. niceheart, don’t feel bad. i don’t buy everything for my children. i tell them to get a job so they can afford expensive haircut, expensive shampoo, and expensive clothes. when daughter S wanted to purchase mac computer, i only gave half of the money, she worked the whole summer to pay for the other half.

    what about a compromise? get the $3,000 one and he pays for the half and you pay for the other half. yes, he will have to work the whole summer to get the flute. who knows, he might change his mind and decides that doesn’t need the flute after all.

  • 7. Wil  |  May 31, 2007 at 11:35 pm

    wow, that’s an expensive flute! That’s about 3-4 trips to the Philippines during peak season for me. 😀 Anyway, playing music is definitely not cheap. I don’t have the best guitar, for example. Not only the instrument itself, but the peripherals like digital audio interface to record oneself, a microphone, etc. Like Belle said, perhaps go for the $3000 one and split the difference.

    Oh, and I feel bad, too, about his current flute. The flute’s feelings must be hurt…..if it had any, that is. 😀

  • 8. pinayhekmi  |  June 1, 2007 at 12:33 am

    Ouch ouch ouch. I agree with you that even if we could, we shouldn’t give our kids everything. But still, there’s a little pinch in the heart when you know your child needs and wants and deserves something so bad, but you can’t make it happen.

    What about a pre-owned professional flute? I would suggest looking into it. He could pay half and you could put up the other one. Okay I just did a quick search on Google, and there are definitely sites out there for pre-owned, good condition flutes.

    Good luck!

  • 9. Belle  |  June 1, 2007 at 12:53 am

    pahabol, my daughter wanted guitar so bad, she settled for the ones she could afford–the hundred dollar one. she used that guitar for concert in college. later, she upgraded it to the $200 one when she saved up some money and gave her old one to Lexie. Am sure, in time, she will replace it with a better one once she is able to afford it.

  • 10. Rach (Heart of Rachel)  |  June 1, 2007 at 5:02 am

    That’s very expensive. Didn’t realize a flute can cost that much. I understand your situation. How I would love to buy all the finest things for my son but I have to be practical and prioritize the more important things.

    I’m sure when the right time comes, you can buy that dream flute for him.

    Good luck to your son’s passion for music.

  • 11. bugsybee  |  June 1, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    Is there any possibility of selling Reggie’s old flute to add to the fund for the new flute?

    I am also happy to hear that he wants to take on a summer job just so he can buy a new flute! This only shows that he understands that it isn’t a joke to be shelling out $5,100 for a new flute.

    But I totally, completely agree with you – even if you can afford it (and even if it hurts you to say no), sometimes we have to say no to make them understand why they can’t have everything.

  • 12. Shoshana  |  June 1, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    Wow, that’s an awesome flute. Niceheart, it’s not that you haven’t given enough to your children, it’s just that there are things they wanted that’s beyong the family’s budget. Don’t feel bad about that. Every resposible family have budgets.

    You have given him education, room and food and house and lots of love. I am sure that if he really loves that flute and want to upgrade, he could save toward it. He would love it more and he would appreciate it more.

    Saying no is a normal part of loving children. Have him earn it…maybe half of it. Summer is coming up, maybe he could teach music to younger kids and make a little bit. Anything towards it. What do you think?

  • 13. Sidney  |  June 1, 2007 at 8:22 pm

    I understand that this hurts… after all it is not a toy or a PSP… but something that he needs for his passion.
    I am sure he will gt that flute sooner or later !

  • 14. annamanila  |  June 2, 2007 at 5:58 am

    I laughed at your account of how you explained to the sales clerk why you couldn’t buy the flute — which is really for your son to hear. Pareho pala tayo … indirect way is sometimes more effective di ba?

    Another line made me chuckle- abiout being glad the flute wasnt there to hear that it is ‘a piece of junk.’

    Nice way to spice up your piece .. galing.

    In the end the message is clear. Sometimes it is even a blessing that we cannot afford to buy all the desires of our children’s heart. Then they work for it. They become more enterprising. They learn how to dream and hold things precious, including our efforts and TLCs.

  • 15. chase  |  June 2, 2007 at 6:52 am

    Oh I know that instruments are wayyyyyyyyyy expensive. My bf is a musician and plays the tuba. That thing costs a fortune around 10 to 12 thousand USD but he is fortunate that he can afford to buy 2 of those.

    For me I’d rather buy some nifty gadgets or clothes with that money.

  • 16. mstoni man  |  June 2, 2007 at 10:25 am

    well. done. that’s really fantastic! good job buddy…waiting for just put what the people searching for..good luck!

  • 17. Patrice  |  June 2, 2007 at 7:50 pm

    I can’t say I know how you feel since I don’t have children of my own yet. I do agree with your principle of not giving in all the time to what your kids want. I was brought up the same way as you were and I also agree that if you want something you have to work hard for it. Do not feel guilty because having taught this lesson to your kids, they will thank you when they are older.
    It is sad that a lot of parents because of love for their kids try to provide everything even if it bad for them. Too much money, grand cars, etc. Thry end up thinking that everything can be had on a silver platter.

  • 18. vic  |  June 2, 2007 at 10:11 pm

    the flute, violin or cello are not just like computers, or a big screen t.v.s. they are the instrument of arts and in the right hands, they are priceless treasures.

    here’s my suggestion; ask your son if he wants to split the cost, get now pay later or wait until he earned enough during school break works.
    I bought the bibs an accoustic guitar, not very expensive to start, but after a few lessons and some recital she lost interest. i think she must had given it to somebody, when they moved to the states.

  • 19. niceheart  |  June 3, 2007 at 1:05 am

    Thank you for all the comments everyone.

    Sorry, but I don’t have time to answer each one of you. I just don’t have the time. And if I haven’t paid your blogs a visit, it doesn’t mean I’m snobbing you. Just been really busy.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your experiences and also for all the input and suggestions. You have given me many options that I could consider.

    Have a nice weekend, everyone. 🙂

  • 20. ipanema  |  June 4, 2007 at 9:07 am

    I think we, mothers really feel bad if we can’t give our children everything they want. Well, there are times that they need to understand. He’ll get over it and perhaps who knows he’ll have his dream flute one day. 🙂

  • 21. verns  |  June 4, 2007 at 11:13 pm

    ahhh…your last paragraph Niceheart…I uttered the same words when I was younger. My parents said the same words to us. We can have what we need but not all the things we want.

    I remember wanting to have a Mickey Mouse pencil case when I was in elementary and I couldn’t have it. It hurt but somehow I understood our situation. Reggie will feel frustrated but he will understand…someday when he gets older, he will value the things that he worked for unlike the others who just take it for granted coz they can have anything.

  • 22. SexyMom  |  June 5, 2007 at 8:17 pm

    a very difficult situation. how easy it was when they were small tots, needs were simple, so were wants.

    oh yes, Reggie needs the new instruments, though at the moment, he still can make do with what he has.

    what overcomes him now is his “infatuation” of the new instrument. this is how young people are, sometimes on the onset, they do not clearly see the rationale of the situation. give him some time to understand, in the same way as you should have time not to take this against him.

    he will soon learn the value of working hard or striving on reaching one’s goals. i’m sure in time you will be able to make up with something. he will have his new flute…in time.

  • 23. Leah  |  June 6, 2007 at 11:34 am

    Its really expensive nga. He does pick the best one huh?
    Hopefully you can find one somewhere that is cheaper. Check out ebay.

  • 24. niceheart  |  June 6, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    Thanks again for the comments guys.

    Leah, I just might check out ebay. Haven’t thought of that one. Thanks for the suggestion. And yes, he tends pick the best one. Even shopping for shoes would take forever. Nagmana sa ama. 🙂

  • 25. Toe  |  June 6, 2007 at 10:55 pm

    Oh dear… I remember when I bought my flute for only P3,000. And that was worth my entire tuition for one semester in UST. It was a pretty good flute too and was the envy of the flute majors in school (I was only taking it as a minor). Perhaps, it would be cheaper if you bought it somewhere else and have it shipped. With the Internet, everything is at your finger tips. I know that he wants to test it first of course before he could buy it. But it doesn’t hurt to do google first or try e-bay.

  • 26. niceheart  |  June 11, 2007 at 12:03 am

    Thanks for the suggestion, Toe. Although now that I think about it, I don’t think he’ll buy the idea of buying it online because as you said, he would want to try it first. But we’ll see. As of now, I’m open to any suggestions and will consider any options. Thanks again.


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