Winning big

lottery tixThis week, my dad won the lottery. Not the $500 million Powerball, but still…enough that he had to take his winning ticket to the city office for his payout.

“We’re getting new cell phones this weekend,” he’s declared. I love him for his simple want, since he hasn’t had a new phone in more than four years and he just wants to be able to take better pictures of his wife and the dogs. I love that his loves are also quite simple.

This win comes at the time when my folks really needed a win. Dad’s been without a job for more than a year, and to say that it’s been a hard season would be an understatement. He has been hired for a new position, but waiting for security clearances from the government has been holding him up, so my parents have just been waiting for months for things to click into place. I’ve watched them wait well and trust God and pull together, but I know they needed a win. And I’m grateful on a soul level that they got one.

Because my parents are awesome in ways that I can only hope to be. They are generous, and welcoming, and wise. They’ve always provided well for my brother and me, and they didn’t blink twice when I had to move back in after finishing grad school. My dad showed up with his truck and he hauled my furniture out of my townhouse and back into my high school bedroom. My mom bought a new rug, and a blackout curtain, and a big red chair I could read my books in.

I have always known I have a home with them, and I have always known that where they are is a safe place.

They have always been my best cheerleaders and my biggest fans, and when I threw everybody for a loop by deciding to give up a career as a therapist to instead become a writer, they weren’t thrown at all. My dad looked at me and said, “I always knew this is what you would end up doing” and “This is what you were born for.”

My mom and I were chatting a few weeks ago about a couple of books she’s been reading, favorites of mine she thieved from my bookshelf, and it spun into this conversation about what we love about these writers, about church, about God, about each other. And when I thanked her for being so supportive and for letting me live at home rent-free and how glad I am to experience living with them as adults who like each other, my mom said, “This is what we can do for you, so we’re doing it.” And then she added, just a little bit teary, “We see God working in you. We don’t want to get in the way of that ever.”

Like I said, my parents are awesome. They deserve a win.

My dad and I were dreaming about what he would do if he did win the $500 million Powerball. He said he would build a compound somewhere with a small rancher house for him and mom and the dogs, and a small house in a different part of the compound for my brother, I’m guessing so there’s someone to shovel snow and mow the lawn. He said he’d build me a house too, more library than house, so I could write peacefully, if I wanted it. When he said he wanted this compound to be somewhere in Ohio so that my mom could be close to her sister, I said I love the house idea but I have no real desire to live in Ohio, so would he consider paying off my student debt. To which he said, “Absolutely!”

Dreaming is fun.

And while I appreciate the dream and the new cell phone, and while I think it’s particularly cool that my dad won the lottery, I think the big win is that it doesn’t really change our family too much.

We’re simple people with the simple want to take care of each other. And that, to me, feels like the biggest win of all.

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