Powerball Be Mine by Jean Marie Keenan-Johnston

$450 million estimated annuity…according to the Pennsylvania Lottery’s website, that’s what the next drawing’s estimated Powerball winnings are to be for whatever lucky person has his or her numbers pulled from that special machine that can remake a person’s future in the seconds it takes a few little balls to jump from the swarm swirling round and round to the top of each little shoot, numbers that have no more chance than any other of being chosen.  Just Lady Luck stepping in changing somebody’s life in a tremendously amazing once-in-a-lifetime, against-odds-possibly-higher-than-being-struck-by-lightning, kind of way.  Many people out there don’t believe in the lottery thinking it’s just a waste of hard-earned money.  Others believe in the Law of Attraction and say if you believe in the right way, live your life with the right set routines and actions so as to avoid negativity, and put enough positive out into the universe you can attract wealth such as this.  (It’s a bit more complicated than that, but it’s been quite some time since I read The Secret or any other books on the subject, so my understanding of the Law of Attraction is a bit rusty and therefore difficult to explain well.)  I guess you could say I’m a positive thinker with a mix of beliefs…I believe if you put positive out there into the universe then it will come back to you someday most likely when you least expect it. I do admit to having my girls trained to say “when we win the lottery” as opposed to “if” to help train them to maintain the positive attitude I work to keep myself, but we do have talks like being realistic or how one shouldn’t “spend” money she doesn’t yet have in her pocket, so to speak.  I have days when I feel like my family and I have had so many difficulties thrown at us since only months after my wedding when life started getting more difficult that sometime down the road we’ll be due for a positive turnaround of such massive proportions it will make up for all the physical and emotional pain we’ve bravely battled and overcome these past eight years.  And then there’s always the very basic message I like to say to myself and others, “You can’t win if you don’t play.”  All you have to do is scroll through the lottery’s website to see that people have won significant amounts in the past.  All those photos of people holding lottery checks prove that point.  So the money from all those people I see at the grocery store customer service counter buying lottery tickets must be going somewhere, right?

Whether a big payday is in our future or the lottery winnings are destined for somebody’s else’s bank account, occasionally I’ll spend $4 or $6 on a few tickets.  I have the same numbers I play, and if my girls are with me I’ll let them pick a set of numbers.  They get a kick out of coloring in the little circles with Mommy’s pen without my help or my say about what numbers to choose with the exception of my instructions to make sure they spread out the numbers across the board (My attempt at trying to keep in mind the tips I’ve read about how to better one’s odds with lottery tickets.  Whether it’s true or just garbage, I don’t know. But I like feeling like I’m having some impact, large or small, on the end result of this attempt at winning.  So I choose to convince myself it’s the right thing to do just in case it’s an action of some amount of merit.  Sort of like the child who has figured a few things out about Santa and the Tooth Fairy but is afraid to admit it to anyone for fear they’ll shoot themselves in the foot if they’re wrong and be left with nothing while their friends still enjoy the spoils of childhood from the heroes they offended by losing faith.)  I even have moments when I feel the loving guidance of my father take over, even though he is no longer with me.  And so occasionally I’ll check off that spot that allows the computer to choose my numbers for me.  Even though the “experts” say this lessens the chances of a win, I like that small feeling of comfort that maybe Daddy is able to somehow act on my behalf in the afterlife and give a few happy events a little push in the right direction.  So my girls and I have this little routine that we enjoy every now when we let the computer choose the numbers saying we’re giving leaving it open for Pop Pop to do his thing.  Some people may read that and say “She’s nuts!” but my girls and I like feeling like my dad is watching over us and helping us during times of need, just like when he was alive, so I think that’s all that matters.  Heck, some probably think it’s crazy for a woman on disability with high medical expenses to spend any amount of money on the lottery to begin with!  But remember, you can’t win if you don’t play…and I’m not one of those gambling addicts who wastes hundreds of dollars on false hopes.  A few dollars here and there, not when the winnings to be had are in the millions upon millions and the odds against winning are greater and greater, but instead when a feeling comes to me like maybe I have a chance that week that something awesome could happen for us.

My husband and I aren’t greedy people.  Nobody goes into the teaching profession to make their millions and retire young.  I’d love to say we’re rich in other ways…two beautiful daughters, a roof over our heads, and a strong will to go on no matter what obstacles life throws at us.  To be honest, I don’t believe ANYBODY needs an amount of money as high as $450 million.  (Or I should say what’s left after Uncle Sam takes his share.)  But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’ve had a list in my mind for many years about how the money would be spent if we did win someday.  As the girls grow, our house is getting smaller and smaller.  There just isn’t room to put everything away no matter how hard I work to organize everything.  And as my fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis worsen, it’s harder and harder to get that kind of work done.  So while I don’t want to live in a mansion, I’d love to be able to afford something a little bigger…a playroom for the kids to mess up, a few more closets, would all be great and extremely helpful toward keeping a clean house while fibromyalgia gets in the way of housework.  There are other areas of my life where I could really use some assistance.  As my pain grows and use of my hands gets tougher and tougher, I often think to myself how helpful it would be if I could afford a little help with some of my responsibilities as a mother.  Driving, shopping, taking my girls out for fun events…all of them are getting tougher and tougher to manage.  But there aren’t any ways to get help with these tasks without the ability to pay for them, so a gift like a lottery win would bring some much needed independence where fibromyalgia has taken that away from me as well as more fun times for my children than I’m currently able to give them.  It would be nice to have help with some of my more physical responsibilities so that maybe I’d have some energy and pain tolerance left to put toward my hobbies so that I could enjoy them again instead of using up all my energy stores for just the work I need to do each day.  A lottery win would bring a lot back to my life that I’ve lost in the last eight years of living disabled.  It would be a gift that would go far beyond a large amount of money!

My next concern lies with my family.  My sister and her husband have dealt with so many financial issues as he’s been disabled from work time and time again due to the effects of serious car accidents, back injuries and a gallbladder issue that took months to diagnose.  My brother hasn’t had the best luck with his career lately, and working in the restaurant industry can make being a wage-earner tough to begin with.  Of course all of us have worried about my mom since my dad died.  So I’d love to help each and every one of them!  How awesome it would be to pay off each of my sibling’s mortgages and build the addition my sister needs for her children to have the bedrooms needed for three kids.  I’d love to help my mom make whatever choices she needs to be more at ease with living without my dad…sell the house and move into a retirement community?  Buy a new house with a mother-in-law suite or a guest house so I can help her when she needs it and offer her a little bit of company?  Keep her house and just pay for all the work it needs while paying for help with the yard work and an occasional housekeeper visit?  It would just feel absolutely awesome to someday find myself in a financial situation that I could help my loved ones in such a way so I could put an end to some of the stresses that try to overrun their lives.  There are a few other dreams I’ve occasionally thought about too.  I have friends dealing with disabilities I’d like to help, cancer donations I’d love to make in honor of my father’s fight that he sadly lost, and a nonprofit I’d like to start that would offer assistance to other parents in my same situation, people trying to raise children and maintain a household for them despite the many challenges chronic pain conditions or cancer impose upon them.  These are the gifts I’d like to give the world if Lady Luck gifts me the funds needed to make each of them happen.  

I’m a realistic person.  I know my chances of winning the lottery, especially an amount as huge as $450 million, are pretty much nonexistent.  My chances of winning even a smaller amount are pretty poor too for that matter.  I choose to believe that someday things are going to turn around for me in a very huge, wonderful way.  I don’t care if people think I’m crazy for thinking that or not.  I’m not sure if that means a lottery win, a fibromyalgia cure, or some other miracle from above.  But for now, I’m choosing to spend my $4 or $6 during occasional grocery trips to give Lady Luck that little bit of assistance she needs to do her thing.  Maybe someday I too will be on that show “The Lottery Changed My Life” and maybe I won’t.  But at least the money I’m spending is going toward programs that help senior citizens…or at least that’s what the lottery commercials tell me.