The Parent Lottery


It’s snowing outside but our apartment is warm thanks to the fire place carefully positioned at the living room. Less than a week in the U.S. has left me entranced – I love the fine weather, the helpful locals, the leafless trees, the scenic view… all of it. This is our last night in this apartment (tomorrow we proceed to Rocky Mountains in Colorado). And here, I’ve been reading The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. I was looking for a reflective read and this has been a great one at that. Tonight’s lesson from Pausch for sharing: The Parent Lottery

In his book, Pausch described how his parents had allowed him to dream and imagine as he wished to the extent of allowing him to paint on the walls of his room. He took the liberty of painting all sorts of crazy ideas that had inspired him in his growing up years all around his room – elevator buttons, the general formula to find x from a quadratic equation (and more). These paintings continued to inspire him to his dying day. For such freedom and trust, he concludes to have “won the Parent Lottery”. Drawing parallels to myself being on this trip in the States, I, too, feel that I have definitely hit jackpot. For now, I have difficulty articulating clearly how much it must have taken from my parents for this trip to the States to happen. My immense respect for their delicate balance holding on and letting go leads me to be determined to reaffirm this trust placed in us on this trip. Thanks for letting us make our own mistakes, for trusting us to love ourselves as you love us and for time and again forgiving our foolish selves.

I have read countless articles about why parents do the things they do: Why do they impose their expectations? Why do they want so much for us to fulfil their dreams? How come they have the tendency to be over-controlling? I remember looking up these articles on the days I was frustrated that they wanted so much for me to do something in a certain way. “It’s only what is good for you,” they would justify. Often, I felt misunderstood, as if my point of view had been totally neglected in a situation where the consequences would be most influential to me and not them (or so I thought). Pausch taught me that all of us have ‘won’ the Parent Lottery in some way. Whatever the conflicts or divergent of interests, thinking hard enough about how different our lives might be without our parents perhaps offer the story of how we have ‘won’ the Parent Lottery in some way. Today, at 18, I continue to have squabbles with my parents and we still share moments of disagreement. But nowadays, I appreciate better the fundamental, genuine love upon which their perspectives are built. Nowadays, I appreciate better that I won the Parent Lottery because I found parents with unconditional love and just as much trust in me. I would hate to take that for granted.

Throwback to Taiwan, feeling like the luckiest child to have my parents:


This Christmas, my present is the revelation of this victory.


4 thoughts on “The Parent Lottery

  1. Pingback: My Superhero is My Mommy | frizzyhaired|musings

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  4. Pingback: What I Now Know | frizzyhaired|musings

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