Did you ever ponder the similarities between families and jigsaw puzzles? The way you need every member to complete the picture and how each piece fits together perfectly once you look at it from all angles?
But, I have pondered the awesomeness of my two daughters in-law and I offer the following jigsaw puzzle story as indisputable proof:
This Christmas I gave my daughter in-law Tara the same 1000-piece puzzle she gave me, (except she is a Patriots football fan and I, obviously, am a Packer fan. Also, she is an avid puzzler and I am just frequently puzzled.) It was, to quote my son Charlie, who loves to quote O. Henry, a real Gift of the Magi situation.
I started my cool Lambeau Field puzzle shortly after Tara and Charlie left our house in Wisconsin to drive back to their home in New Jersey. I thought it would be cute to send them updates of my progress as they made their way east.
As it turns out, though, I am terrible at jigsaw puzzles. I am impatient, currently both nearsighted and farsighted, and I live in a 90-year old house with the kind of lighting I only appreciate when I’ve burned dinner or I don’t want to look too closely in the mirror. I am also generally overconfident when I start projects like this. So, I was pretty shocked at how hard that puzzle was as I hunched over our dining room table and squinted at all those tiny shapes.
An hour later, I’d assembled a total of seven jigsaw pieces and my eyeballs hurt almost as much as my pride.
Molly took pity on me and started on the top border, but she had other projects she wanted to complete and, eventually, we both set aside the puzzle with just a few small sections complete.
Meanwhile, in New Jersey, Tara set to work on hers. Charlie sent a picture of her getting started early in the evening of December 26.
“This is going to be embarrassing,” I thought and I Googled tips on completing a jigsaw puzzle.
By noon the next day, Tara had finished her puzzle.
“The crowd is no joke,” she texted graciously. “Not an easy puzzle.”
“How fast do you complete easy puzzles,” I texted, in awe.
The Lambeau puzzle seemed hopeless, until my daughter in-law Danni jumped in. I left the house to run a few errands and, when I returned, whole chunks of Lambeau Field had emerged from my piles of chaos. It was so beautiful, I got a second wind and sat down to help.
Eventually, we settled into a groove, with Molly rejoining us to work on the border, Danni putting together the turf, Vinnie sorting the remaining pieces into strategic piles and me staring grimly at a small pile of pieces and willing them to fit togther.
Most of us took a break for our nightly installment of Ted Lasso, but even that didn’t stop Danni. She carefully moved the puzzle from the dining room table to the family room floor so she could continue her work.
Sadly, she and Vinnie had to head out yesterday, but the puzzle she left behind is in great shape and I am very confident I will be able to complete it … one of these days.
Meanwhile, of my whip-smart and kind-hearted daughters in-law, hear this:
“Let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.”