Puzzle pieces...

Life is like a giant puzzle...we look at all the pieces, hoping that we can put it together, then we hope we can keep it together. There are many parts of this puzzle... work, life, family..

Tonight my youngest of the oldest (for those who keep track...we have four children, three that are older..I brought the girl to the family, my husband brought two boys...we then had one together) and I were sifting through the puzzle pieces from a puzzle I brought home from school. As we were searching for the outside pieces, I was struck by how putting this puzzle together is a bit like our life has been. The boys came to live with us ten years ago on March 3. It was a day that changed our lives forever. They came to us broken and now ten years later, it's hard to believe they are the same young men.

So tonight, I am thinking about those first years, when I wasn't sure how the puzzle was going to go together or even if it would. I spent many nights worried about how they were doing, their mental health, physical health. We struggled to fit together, gently plying the pieces so that the rough edges fit locked. There were so many pieces...the three children, who weren't sure they could call each other "sibling," the new brother, who was sick and in and out of the hospital...so many pieces.

I felt like I worked most of the time just to keep the puzzle together...hoping there were no dropped pieces and would be brushed under the carpet. Each of the children brought their pieces to the table, looking carefully to see how they fit. placing their pieces in the puzzle then removing them, not sure if they wanted to keep them in the puzzle or smuggle them back to their room in a box.

Now, when I look at our puzzle, I am amazed how after ten years later it looks so seamless. Pieces from ten years ago are faded a bit, look a little worn, but we have become so confident in our ability to fit together that we have long ago glued the puzzle together. The children, smiles coming from the photo wall, physically look like they could come from an intact family. Their broken pieces are mostly healed and we are looking forward.

The puzzle we were handed so long ago had so many pieces, had so many colors that it was hard to fit together, but now I see this amazing puzzle and wonder how our life could have been had we not created it together.

Life is like a giant puzzle...we want to fit together, we want to interlock with another to make a strong connection. This life...a life of pieces that are, over time, made whole is one that is so worth living. It has been worth the tears shed. the frustration felt, the sorrow known. This life is filled with color and wonder. I can't imagine a life that is different and I certainly wouldn't want to build it with anyone else...

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