Over a year ago, when A. was diagnosed with autism and I took a month off work, I bought a puzzle because it “spoke” to me. It was my goal to finish the puzzle that month. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen: The puzzle was more challenging than I anticipated and I just didn’t have enough time. I stored the partly completed puzzle under my bed and worked on it when I had time. A few months ago, though, the kids had some friends over and they were playing hide and seek – and under my bed was a perfect hiding place. The puzzle was ruined. I packed it up, preserving the assembled parts as best as I could and stashed it away.
A few weeks ago I decided to re-start the puzzle. I started by counting pieces and I was disappointed to realize that I was missing 10 pieces. I counted again. Still missing 10 pieces. How could I possibly think they would all be there? I was saddened, as the message of the puzzle spoke to me and there was something inside of me that felt a sense of disappointment that this puzzle would never be completed and eventually hanging on a wall in my house. I remembered buying it at a local bookstore, so I set out for a walk with baby El to see if they still carried it… but they didn’t. I eventually found it on their website, on clearance for $10, so I snatched it up. That small part of my inner being felt satisfied.
The puzzle arrived yesterday and I was eager to start working on it. I began sorting the pieces and I immediately remembered how challenging the puzzle is. I felt disheartened thinking about all the work I had done before that was now wasted: There was the actual assembly of large chunks of puzzle, but there was also the immense work of sorting pieces. There are only 2 colours: black and off-white, so sorting came in the form of the size of print. Hours of sorting – gone.
With the new puzzle, I knew there was only one place to start – placing everything out in the open. I proceeded to filter out the edge pieces… the only pieces that have a definite position in the puzzle, and the only pieces that are almost predominantly black. And so, I put all the sadness of what I had done and lost previously behind me and I started again. I started with what I knew to be true and I will only work forward from there.