Remember, ‘Don’t Break The Promise!’

Good Enough Mother is not sure whether to be pissed or proud at this particular moment. See it started one night this week when Buff jabbed his elbow into my side to wake me up so that he could read the latest Christmas wish list from our beloved son, Cole

Now this is a kid is undeniably bright, in fact, I always thought he was destined to be the leader of some third world country (provided I could get him out of the third grade.) He’s one of those persistent kids and when he wants something he’ll just friggin’ WEAR-YOU-DOWN! Note this is not run-of-the-mill pestering, the kind that stops with a stern look or a firm voice. No, Cole is not deterred that easily.  So when he came to me holding the Sam Ash catalog trying to show me the new guitar he wanted for Christmas, I thought I could deflect by saying, “Send your dad an email.”  (I love modern parenting).

That was at 4:45 in the afternoon. I thought the matter had been dropped until I got the jab in the ribs at 12:03 am. Turns out Cole, who ostensibly went to bed at 9:30, had sent his father a well-written, perfectly laid out argument as to why he deserved a Les Paul guitar for Christmas. Here is the letter, reprinted without his permission (Hey, I’m his mother).

I say this in the most wistful way, I NEED a new guitar! No offense but the one that I have is terrible. Doesn’t sound good on the amp, controls are bad, and its just not fun to play with. I think I deserve a new one (for Christmas) for the following reasons;

–       I’m really getting good at guitar I practice everyday (I’ll play you one of my best pieces sometime)

–       I got good grades and you said that if I did then you would get me a better (just adding ’cause you did say “expensive”) guitar for Christmas

–       And lately I’ve been focusing more on school and music rather than video games (recently I took a 3 week break from Xbox).

–       In school I’m always focused and on track. I hand in homework on time and get excellent test grades. But yes I know that you can’t just take my word for it, I know you have to hear what my grades are. These are my grades for my core classes(all others I got A’s and A+’s) SS: B-, Math: B, Science: B, English: C (ask mom, she’ll say the same).

I’m not sure if you’ll find these grades as pleasing as I d,o but just remember, I’m always giving 100%. and as the year progresses, my current 100% will look like a 50% later on. If you do decide to buy me a new guitar after digesting and comprehending this message, there will be no need to look online for a guitar because I already have one picked out that I think is perfect. Not too expensive and just right for me. Here is the URL: (Cole put the link in here. How considerate!)

Too expensive? (Come one. In your exact words “If you get good grades on your next report card, I’ll buy you a really expensive guitar.” I said “How expensive” You said “One-thousand dollars.”) Here’s another guitar that I really like. URL: (another link) If you decide to get this one can you get it in red please?

Now these two guitars are really nice but the one that I idolize the most is the Gold top Les Paul. And yeah you might say “its the same as your other guitar.” No it’s not. Let me show you in a chart:

Similarities :

Same model


Gold top runs and sounds better

Gold top is not a knockoff

Gold top is tougher and sturdier

From this chart you see that the only characteristic they share is that they’re the same model. Other than that the Gold top LP wins overall. Therefore I recommend choosing the Gold top LP. Even though it may be a little expensive you still did promise that if I did good, you’d get me a good guitar. Also think of how much time and effort went into this letter and my dedication to school and music. I hope you find this email to be very convincing. Don’t break the promise.

By the time Buff finished reading the email (at 12:07) we were laughing so hard I was sure the little salesman in the other room could hear us. So we did what most people in this situation would do; we weighed the pros and cons. Now let me just clarify a few things that mini-Donald Trump said in the letter.

First of all, Cole is absolutely correct that Buff promised him a good, expensive guitar if he did better in school. The problem here is that Buff didn’t specify any parameters, so the A’s, B’s and C’s can constitute good grades  and apparently do in the mind of a 7th grader (whereas I don’t think a C in English constitutes a good grade). Secondly, Cole is right, he had a break from X-Box but it was not three weeks, it was a week and a half and it was NOT self-imposed. He had a break from X-Box because I took the power cord so he could not play during the week. Minor detail.  And then there was “The Promise” which is mentioned no fewer than three times in the letter.

Listen, I think the guitar he wants is too expensive but more than knowing how to play that instrument, he plucked Buff like a fiddle. Buff likes order; this is a well laid out, rational, reasonable letter. Buff likes to be asked with respect; Cole used that from the outset. And Buff doesn’t want to be seen as a man who makes promises and doesn’t keep them. You see where Cole was all over that.

I’m also on the fence because I want to know why I have to beg and plead for him to put in a fraction of the amount of work for school assignments and then he produces this letter that is more detailed than US troop movements in Afghanistan. Not to mention the fact that this letter was composed two hours past his bedtime. What to do, what to do?

You know what I did? I let his father make the decision. Just before we drifted off last night, Buff said to me “I used to worry about that boy. I don’t anymore. Cole’s gonna be just fine. Just fine.”

You know what that means? The boy’s probably going to get a Les Paul guitar for Christmas.

Have you ever been in a situation where you kid surprised you like this? Do tell! And do you think Cole should get the guitar?