02 December 2010

Puzzle Addiction

Ryan's mom has a game table that usually has a work-in-progress puzzle going on.  Ryan teases that I am a puzzle addict.  I suppose that is a true statement.  I never get one out to work on at our house.  It would suck me in and would get nothing accomplished, but when we're at her house I indulge.  Pearl always claims she wants to help, but then she comes over and leans on the table [and on whomever happens to be there], knocking pieces on the ground, placing them where they most obviously do not belong, hiding them, contorting the outer frame.  She wears me out.
We all start puzzles the same way: dump out the box and flip them over to the right side, just as we all start out our life, learning and doing the basics of rolling over, crawling, walking, learning to read and reason.  I've watched all the baby dills do it and it captures my fascination each and every time.  It's even more quenching and fulfilling to observe when they are old enough to cheer each other on.  

Then we work on the easily recognizable puzzle pieces:  the outer edges, the brightly colored, the different and unusual.  We still have to work at them, but at least it's easy to narrow down where they go in the scheme of the big picture.  We know the basics of what we want in life: perhaps a family, a career, a desire to see the world.  We work on them sometimes all at once or focus on just one intently and work at it until a form is fully visible: 

Then comes the hardest part.  The minutia.  The background and all the pieces that look like they go one place, but go elsewhere entirely.  Sometimes I focus so much on a specific piece that I'm sure I can place in the correct spot that time is wasted and frustrations arise.  Sometimes it's best to put that piece down and work somewhere else, or to study the big picture for clues and hints.  Then someone else may walk up and point out exactly where it goes which can be accepted graciously or begrudgingly that you, with all your hard work should have figured it out.  Sometimes it takes a different perspective.

And then sometimes you just need to walk away for a little break, because all the pieces start to look the same, even though you've handled each one multiple times.  Like the way you respond to your child who thinks no matter what you do it is never enough, or that the service you offer up isn't recognized, appreciated and perhaps it's even spurned.  Those are the times when we must realize that we are all given every one of the puzzle pieces we need.  They are all there.  Some of us have oddly shaped pieces, some of us have 1000 pieces while others of us have 100 pieces. We have been given the diffculty level that is best for us.  We are all learning and growing and trying.  And I don't think that anyone would really want to trade their puzzle for another.  Despite the many pieces that I drop, misplace and put in the wrong spot  I can see the potential of what I am creating and find such deep satisfaction when that piece slips easily into place after trying to jam it into so many others.  I will gladly accept help, even if it comes in the form of a Pearl and will continue to be addicted to seeing my puzzle come together as a whole and the beginnings of those in my care.

21 comments:

  1. Thank you for your wisdom, love and dedication of motherhood and wisdom to keep going until our puzzles are completed.

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  2. Such a sweet post and a very pretty puzzle~ We too, had a ornery puzzle kid~ she would chew & pound the pieces into place~ to this day, she still gets aggravated with puzzles.

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  3. A beautiful and inspirational post -so true

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  4. All that from a puzzle.....you are amazing.

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  5. i am the same way with puzzles! if i start one, there's no turning back and its all i do until it is done. when i was a kid i would do all of my puzzles (the 100 piece kind) almost every day and put one on top of another on top of another until i had a big stack of all of them. i'm very tempted to go home and pull a puzzle out now...

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  6. well said. I found this craft project and thought it would look cool with your black and white Christmas. Enjoy!
    http://www.prudentbaby.com/2010/12/free-felted-wool-tree-tutorial.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+PrudentBaby+(Prudent+Baby)

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  7. Oh Katy. This post made me teary-eyed. I have been struggling with how to best love one of my children - we are so different, and there are so many times that I just don't understand her (and she's only THREE!). Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this.

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  8. Thank you Katy, for putting into words, so beautifully, what I knew without knowing I knew. I have five "puzzles" of my own and every one of them is different, and I love that.

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  9. Thank you for sharing your outlook and analogies. I really enjoyed that. And, it is timely, because I am just now getting into my own puzzle addiction! My MIL has brain cancer, and in the hospital where she is getting her radiation, they have puzzles set up on all the tables in the waiting room. We have worked on many different puzzles together and it is so fun. I love the one you took a picture of. It is beautiful.

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  10. What a lovely post. I just had a lovely mom-son evening tonight that I wrote about, but lately it seems I need to remember that the puzzle is exactly as it should be and the pieces will end up where they belong.

    Thank you.
    sherrietraveling.wordpress.com

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  11. beautifully insightful.

    btw, we need to plan a puzzle weekend. Where we can lock ourselves up and do puzzles with no distraction and stay awake until the last piece is in without worrying about how early little ones will wake us up.

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  12. That settles it, we're having a puzzle night at Christmas! I never knew we shared this addiction. (My Lucy does, too!)

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  13. love love love the analogy. i am loving applying it to my life and the parts that are 'all just one background color and similarly shaped pieces.' i love the idea of just giving into the addiction of FIGURING IT OUT because it IS such a good feeling to FINISH.

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  14. I love this. I keep coming back to read it--it's obviously a message I needed to hear right now. So, thank you. ;-)

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  15. You really touched my heart with this one. I love when you can take something so simple and realize it's just like life around you. I'm bookmarking this post to read again when I need a lift. Great job!!

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  16. Katy, you make me more thoughtful about and grateful for my life.
    I cannot thank you enough.

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  17. Very wise advice for a "puzzling' life. Love you.

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  18. Lovely post about puzzles and life!! I loved it!
    By the way, I LOVED the puzzle you had pictures. Do you by chance know who makes it? My sister is a puzzle lover and I know she'd love this one!! Thanks.
    Renee
    daisy1282@aol.com

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  19. Renee, Here is the link for the puzzle.

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