I haven’t been writing much lately. The New Year has come and come hard and I’ve found myself spending copious amounts of time in the kitchen preparing nearly everything I eat from scratch in order to comply with the elimination/gut healing diet I’m on, I’ve jumped right back into schooling the boys with an added preschool curriculum on top of what we were already doing in the fall semester, and I’m trying to get caught up on finances so that I can crank out our taxes next month.
And when I say I’m trying to get caught up on finances, I mean I’m entering receipts that date back a full year. Yes, we track every purchase, and yes, I am that bad of a procrastinator in this area. I’m highly motivated to catch up now and stay on top of it from here on out, but for now I’m swimming up to my ears in receipts, statements, bills, and other miscellaneous papers.
As I was rolling along today through more receipts than I usually have the time to enter in one sitting, so much of 2014 flashed before my eyes. The big birthday parties we hosted this year–for Nathaniel’s 30th, the boys’ double birthday party, and my 30th birthday. All we really bought for these was food…but still, it adds up! Good thing we don’t have any “big” birthdays coming up in 2015. That’ll give our budget a rest.
Then there were the receipts for frivolous things like frappuccinos, clothes, impulse snacks on the go. You know, the kind of things that seem like a great idea at the time but later you wonder if they were necessary.
And there were about a hundred other such instances of entering receipts for groceries, gas, gifts, and all things necessary for fixing up our house which we bought in the Spring (I don’t so much have a receipt for that as I have a piece of paper that says it’s ours).
Those were much what you would expect. And then there was a series of receipts that made my heart skip a beat…and a knot form in the pit of my stomach. At first I couldn’t figure out why we’d spent a night in Little Rock back in February. Why did we both eat at the airport? Was Nathaniel traveling for business? Was I just there to pick him up or did we fly somewhere together? I didn’t think I had been on a plane since before our eldest son was born. At least not until…Oh. My Grandpa. Mi Abuelito. I had been in an airplane since then. When we flew to San Antonio for his funeral.
I had been thinking about him recently, thinking I need to double check the date he died and be sure to give my mom a call on that day and maybe send her a card ahead of time. Silly me, I might get the date mixed up, but I knew she wouldn’t.
Anyway, while my Grandpa and my Mom have been on my mind lately as the anniversary of his Home-going is getting close, I still wasn’t prepared for a pile of old receipts to walk me through the emotions of that trip. I didn’t expect receipts to tell such a moving story, to remind me of the sweet little old man who prayed for me, whose prayers were a part of God’s nudge for me to trust in Jesus, who wrote to me in Spanish, loved all things Mexican (especialmente la comida y cervezas), who loved adventure, and who loved Jesus and others.
I didn’t expect receipts to remind me of my mom’s labor of love: overseeing my Grandpa’s finances, paying his bills (I have a hunch she didn’t get so behind on his finances as I am on mine), making sure he was well taken care of, and making the five-hour drive to visit him as often as she possibly could. Her faith in the Lord through the grieving process, and the way her face beamed with joy as she read a passage of Scripture at his funeral–looking forward to the return of Jesus and the resurrection of the dead in Christ to life eternal–her light shined so bright, even while his was dimming.
This trip was the first time I’d been that far away from my precious children for any length of time. It’d have been over ten hours had we driven. So we flew. And thus the receipts from the airport restaurant and parking service that began this cascade of emotion for me just half an hour ago.
Even receipts can tell a story. I’m thankful that today mine have told a particularly good one.