Putting the Puzzle together

Hello All!

Happy New Year! It's been a while since I sat down to write....I think holidays do that to you...there is always one more thing to do it seems, to make everyone's holiday happy. Hope that all of you found yourselves smiling a lot during the holidays. It can be great and it can be stressful. Hope that all of you had more great than stress.

As I was driving around probably trying to get one more thing accomplished in December, I heard someone on the radio talking about puzzles. Now why I paid attention to that I don't know, but it made me think about how building a family is a lot like putting a puzzle together. You start out with all sorts of pieces. You have a general frame work to build on, and then you have to assemble it correctly.

Putting a puzzle together can be tricky! Some people can do it really well and some people struggle with all the angles and edges and shapes. You can start out with 2 pieces fitting together quite well, and then you have to figure out how to get the next piece to fit. Kind of like when you first get married or fall in love. You spend time figuring out how to make the two of you fit together. How to assimilate your two personalities and hearts. After some time you might find yourself pregnant, and then have to figure out how to add this next piece well, you can't very well have a bad fit. You have to figure out how to have this new piece fit into the whole puzzle, and you might have to take a few stabs at figuring out where this piece fits. You will have to adjust, maybe even move the edges of your puzzle so that you can accommodate this new piece and have the proper fit. It may be uncomfortable or hard as you try to figure out how to do this!

Some puzzles have lots and lots of pieces. Some have only a few. I wonder if the ones with just a few pieces are easier to put together? I think it would logically seem that that would be simper, but maybe not. What if the small puzzle, one that has just a few pieces, has a part that does not quite fit. No matter how you try and try to shove it into the next piece or adjust the angle, it just does not seem to be able to quite fit properly. Maybe the small puzzle is harder, cause if the pieces don't fit it is more obvious.

What about the puzzle that has lots and lots of pieces. At first it may seem daunting to figure out how to make each piece fit properly with the one next to it, or the one it seems to be part of. What about the middle? Do you work from the edges and build out or do you work from the outside and build in? Does where you start matter and does it affect the outcome of how the puzzle turns out? I wonder if families are the same.

Does it matter where and how we begin to build a family. Does it matter how we put the pieces together and in what order? Does the middle need to be done first, does the heart of the family begin with how we feel, the heart of the matter, or is it better to start with a firm solid outside structure. A boundary that creates a strong barrier to anyone trying to disrupt this structure? I wonder.

This holiday season we had the delightful opportunity to have one more puzzle piece added to our family. Our oldest daughter, Anne got engaged to a wonderful man, named Patrick. Now we have one more addition to the puzzle that has been our family. How do we fit this new person in? How does he see the puzzle that is the family Saxelby? How do we design this new puzzle well and build on from there? I bet we have to open up the box and happily add this new piece. We get to add on!

I have spent lots and lots of time thinking about my children and our family. I know my husband has too. Since the time that we first became parents, we have thought a lot about what we believe and what we think is the right way to put our family puzzle together. I think we have done that well, and to that end Patrick has asked us how we did that. I don't know that it is unique to our family that we all love each other and get along, but maybe it is? I do know that there are a million puzzle boxes out there of different styles and types of family models. I don't know that one is better than the other, but maybe one is more functional than the other, or is that just a matter of perception and perspective. I do not believe that any one family is perfect. I do believe that some seem to be able to "fit" together better than others. I wonder if that is because the pieces were molded better and the edges fit more easily, without having to shove too hard. I wonder if there is less stress in the building and designing process if the puzzle is more sound? Maybe.

Over the holiday we had the chance to have a conversation about family and how Anne and Patrick now want to create their own. They like the puzzle that is the family Saxelby. To Anne, I think it is just a given. It is what she knows and has grown up with. She thinks this is normal. I think she is comfortable with how our family has fit together and the way that this family puzzle has been designed. I know that Patrick is always curious about how this puzzle was made. Now they will get the chance to design theirs. I wonder where they will start? On the inside or on the outside edge?

Putting a puzzle together is hard! It takes time, and patience and energy and thought. It requires problem solving and evaluating and adjusting. All that is worth it though when you sit back and see how well the puzzle is evolving and how well the pieces appear to be fitting together.

Whew! A labor of love and hard work. I wonder if we are ever completely done building the puzzle? I doubt it. I think that with each change our puzzles are redesigned and recreated. Adding more color and angles and depth to the puzzle that is each of our families.

Good building to all!

Until next time,