Sam and Hannah and I went to a train show a couple of weeks ago. Sam had spotted a sign announcing the show, and reminded me daily as the date approached.
Some kids like trains. Some like them a lot. But for Sam, train stuff — models/shows/museums/tracks/engines/pictures/computer programs — trains are his Holy Grail.
I have written previously about the boy’s incredible luck. He enters raffles, and he wins. He has entered three raffles in his 12 charmed years, and has won 1) 70 bucks, 2) a half hour massage, and 3) a new bike. I worry that he is getting the wrong message about gambling, because so far, his experience has taught him that raffle tickets are a sure thing. Every time.
As we entered the long awaited model train show, Sam saw a big sign exclaiming, “Raffle!” I cringed. Once again I cued up “the talk” — the one where I remind him that most of the time, when people enter raffles, or buy lottery tickets, or enter contests, they do not win.
Me: Buddy, I’m afraid that if we buy tickets and then you don’t win, that you’ll be disappointed. Do you understand that we probably won’t win anything?
Sam: I know, Mom. But still, look at the train sets!
Me (muttering under my breath): Crap.
I caved, shelled out ten bucks, and chalked it up as a charitable donation. Then we went home and heard… nothing. For several days running, he ran into the house, just off the school bus, and asked with longing in his voice and hope that made my heart hurt, “Mom, did the Train Show Guy call?” I hated telling him, repeatedly, “Nope, I’m sorry. He didn’t call, Buddy.”
A few days passed and I finally ditched the tickets, relieved that Sam had handled the disappointing silence so gracefully. A small part of me was glad that finally, he was learning the hard lesson that in reality, raffle tickets don’t always magically turn into fabulous prizes.
And tonight, I got a phone call.
He won a train set. The very prize (out of 14 things that were raffled off that day) that he eyed on the display table and hoped to win.
Seriously, would it be so bad if I ask him to write down a few lucky numbers?