When my kids were young I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. It hit me very hard, and with no energy to pursue more active pastimes, and orders to stay out of the sun, I took an interest in contests that I saw in newspapers or at the grocery store.
St my urging my son entered a newspaper contest through the Toronto Star to win tickets to the Shrine Circus in Mississauga. There were additional prizes of bikes and a trip listed for another draw before the big show. It sounded like a can't miss situation. At the very least we'd have an afternoon out.
At this time in our lives my husband was totally engrossed in writing his first computer program as a self employed person and was so absorbed that he was almost living on another planet from the rest of us.
We won family tickets to the show. That meant we all had to attend, especially because I was then not a licensed driver
On the day of the circus we arrived a little late (after pulling my husband away from his computer) and rushed to our
seats in the bleachers. We sat down and before we knew it the
ringmaster announced the winner of a bicycle. My husband clapped and cheered - he did not know there was a draw at all. The next bike was awarded and he kept on clapping, really enthusiastically. Then we got to the trip draw. The ringmaster said "And now we draw for the winner of the grand prize - a trip to Disney World. And the winner is ..." my older son said his brother's name and the ringmaster said the name immediately after.
They called my son down to the circus ring and he disappeared. Next thing we knew he came out riding the lead elephant in the circus procession. My husband was flabbergasted. He had no idea what the prize was. What an experience!
And it was not quickly forgotten. My son had been wearing shorts and it turns out that he is allergic to elephants. He got hives all over his legs. Luckily it cleared up before we went to Disney World.
It was so exciting. The surprise of a win is as much fun as the great sense of contributing to the happiness of the family, despite the RA which kept me from being an active mom. It also did wonders for my sense of optimism, which definitely needed cultivation.