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.