The Lottery

This is such old news now, but back in March when the Mega Millions jackpot was an impression $640 million, Zachary and I both bought tickets. I’m not a frequent lottery player, but on the rare occasion I go inside a gas station instead of paying at the pump and I have dollar bills on me, I might get one on a whim.

Tragically, we did not win the $640 million, but our kids picked up on the buzz and have been talking about winning the lottery every since.

Why do we pay to play a game we know we have such little chance at winning? Because it’s fun to dream. For a few minutes, on days when jackpots reach brain-melting numbers, we all ask ourselves, “What would I do with that kind of money?” Most of us realize, however, that we are not destined to strike it that rich. Doesn’t stop us from dropping another $5 the next time the prize reaches nine digits, though.

So even though the media attention has drifted away from the three winning tickets from that huge drawing, my kids’ minds are ramping up with ideas for what they will do with the winnings they very innocently and optimistically think we will someday hit.

We took a walk after dinner last week and Grant picked a dandelion. He squeezed his eyes shut and whispered under his breath, then blew with all his might as the seeds scattered into the air.

“What did you wish for, buddy?” I asked.

“I wished to get all the Lego sets ever made,” he answered. Of course.

He handed me a dandelion, and I blew the seeds off in one try.

“What did you wish for?” he asked.

“I wished to win the lottery,” I said. “Then I could buy you ever Lego set ever made.” I was being glib, but I had the kids’ attention.

“You could DO that if you won the lottery?” Miles asked.

“If we won that lottery that was so big, we could probably buy the whole Lego company,” I said. Awe-struck gasps all around.

We walked on, but Grant and Miles remained stuck on the lottery. I listened in.

“Grant,” Miles said, “so, if Mom and Dad win the lottery, we can buy the Lego company.”

“Do you think we could buy the White House?” Grant offered.

Miles paused. “Probably, but I don’t think they’d let us.”

They chatted for another minute, weighing their options.

“Okay, so when we win the lottery, we’ll buy the Lego company, the White House, pay for college, and then get an iPod.” Because, of course, only rich kids get iPods!

“You guys, ” I said gently. “It’s really fun to think about winning the lottery, but it’s not likely to happen. I just don’t want you to be disappointed.”

Grant looked glum. “Did you buy a ticket for tonight?” he asked. I nodded, and explained that the drawing would be held while they were asleep.

“Well, when we win the lottery, maybe wait until morning to tell us,” Miles suggested, “otherwise we’ll be so excited we’d probably wake Jonah up.”


Written to link up with The Extraordinary Ordinary’s Just Write, an exercise in free writing.



  1. joannagrote says:

    Did you see a $1 million winning ticket was sold in our county in the last week or two? Start checking your numbers. Last I heard, it was unclaimed πŸ™‚ Tragically, we did not buy a ticket that week.

  2. i admit i do not play the lottery with the odds so high, but i did place a dollar on that big one in march. i didn’t win, but i enjoyed my day dreams about winning

  3. Melissa @ the pleated polka dot says:

    Isnt it so fun how the mind of a child works. I remembering thinking about the lottery when I was a kid- always hopeful πŸ™‚
    Not a bad quality to aim for!

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