Over the past week or so, I have been making arrangements through freecycle to get Akiva a clarinet. I got word yesterday that an instrument was available, and coordinated with the giver to pick it up this afternoon while Akiva was at a birthday party. The woman kindly advised me of what ancillary items would be needed and miraculously I was able to fit in an errand to the music store this morning to get reeds, a beginner mouthpiece, and ligature. (The last is that thingy that holds the reed to the mouthpiece. I didn’t know either.)
Total expense: under $15.
When I dropped Akiva off at the party, I told him I would come back for him after I made a freecycle pickup. He wanted to know whether it was for him and me to share or just for me. I told him that it was to be his alone, and something he would have to take care of very seriously. Although I had hoped to keep it as a surprise, he wanted to know right away what it was, once it was clear that it was for him.
The smile: priceless.
I believe there was even a fist pump. He asked if it could be his forever, and when I told him yes, the smile got even bigger. You should’ve seen the smile.
After the party, I took the boys and the instrument home. The party bag was instantly forgotten, and Akiva asked if he could be the one to carry the clarinet into the house. (Permission granted. I had a ton of other stuff to carry, including said party bag.)
Not a moment too soon, I got the instrument assembled and gave it a squeak. I handed it off to the boy who had been fantasizing for two years about being Glenn Dickson. He blew. Nothing happened. He burst into tears. “Ima, nothing happens. And the reed tastes bad. Give it back. I don’t like it.”
My precious baby dissolved in full-hearted weeping in my arms. This may be the first time (but surely not the last) that something he really wanted to do didn’t come easily for him. I just held him and held him, and told him that if he really wants to learn the clarinet, he will learn it.
Oh the perfectionism. Wonder where he got that.