March 26th, 2012

You may find it amazing that the words “doing taxes” and “appreciating each moment” could be in the same blog. It’s not surprising to me.  What I focus on creates my reality. So it follows that how I spend my time, energy, and money creates my reality.

To me, digging through receipts and tax papers is a form of reflection and the receipts and papers are key indicators as to how time, energy, and money were focused during the year.

This last weekend, I spent gathering receipts and papers for the preparation of my parents’ tax return.  In prior years, this process was a no-brainer for me. For years, my parents had pretty much been living each day like they did yesterday.

This year ‘s tax info presented a much different picture.

There were receipts for prescriptions to calm my mom, so my dad could care for her in their home for as long as possible.

There were receipts for home daycare for my mom, who suffers from dementia, so my dad could run errands and visit with his buddy and not have to worry about leaving my mom alone or being gone too long.

There was paperwork for the sale of their home of 40 years — the letter informing us that the sale had fallen through and then the subsequent sale of their home to a neighbor.

There was paperwork for their move to the senior community to an apartment in independent living.

There were receipts for ambulance and hospital stays for my dad who suffered his third stroke.

There were receipts for the move of my mom to an apartment where she lives with other folks who also suffer from dementia and the move of dad to a 1 bedroom apartment in independent living — all on the same campus.

There were receipts for donations to their church and many other charities because they have always given to those less fortunate.

There were no receipts for lawn care, home maintenance and repairs, and less receipts for doctor visits because all that is taken care of at their new home.

There were receipts for blood sugar test kits, Depends, and natural foods because my dad stopped thinking that he didn’t want to die.  He decided he wanted to live — be happy and healthy, taking care of himself, doing things he loved to do, so he can take care of mom and enjoy their time together.

There were receipts for golfing — something my dad loves to do and couldn’t do while he was caring for my mom 24-7.

There were receipts from the bulk food store — for almond bark which my mom loves and my dad buys as a special treat for her.

There were receipts from the Henry Ford and Bob Evans restaurant — where my dad took his grandson who came to visit from Arizona.

There were receipts for a road trip my dad and I took to visit his grandchildren who were vacationing on the west side of the state.

There were receipts for guitar strings — because my dad is playing his guitar again.

There were receipts for the cable company — because he can watch the war channel and the western channel with his buddy and record movies to watch with me on movie night — our weekend tradition.

These receipts and papers — if I just looked at them as numbers — then I’d be focusing on the “doing.”  When I look at the essence, I am focused on the “being.”

I could see and celebrate, the values my dad, mom, and I embody, the obstacles we faced and overcame, the sense of purpose we restored, and how we accomplished so much more than we gave ourselves credit for. I could appreciate each moment.

It’s my intention to make every receipt count, to make every moment count.

Do your receipts reflect your intentions?