Yesterday afternoon, I didn’t feel like grading portfolios or answering work emails or doing any of the items on my long to-do list. I kept thinking about the little neighbor kids, and wondering where they were. I played the piano for a little while, but then I relinquished my spot on the bench to Shaggy Hair Boy, since he said he needed to practice.
So I decided to do a jigsaw puzzle.
I hadn’t done one in years. But a few weeks ago, a friend offered me a jigsaw puzzle: someone had given it to her as a gift, and she didn’t want it. Just the sight of the box brought back childhood memories, and I took the puzzle home.
When I was a kid, we sometimes spent winter afternoons doing jigsaw puzzles. My mother would set up a folding table near the front window, where we could get the late afternoon light. I’d sit in a wooden chair, studying the pieces, gathering ones that had similar colors, putting them together to form an image. My mother would work on the puzzle for a few minutes, then go into the kitchen to make dinner. My brother would take the spot next to me, gathering pieces systematically, and announcing anything he considered a big breakthrough. “Okay, folks, the barn is now connected to the sky.” Sometimes we’d talk, sometimes we’d work in silence. When my eyes got tired of staring at puzzle pieces, I’d look up at the sky outside the window, hoping for snowflakes.
So yesterday, I pulled a folding table out of the garage, set in up in my front window, and worked on a jigsaw puzzle. The craziness inside my head seemed to calm down as I moved the pieces around. I got a little feeling of satisfaction I got every time I snapped a piece into place.
“What’s this?” Shaggy Hair Boy asked incredulously when he came home and saw the puzzle. “Is this because the neighbor kids aren’t here?”
When Boy in Black and First Extra came through the door, First Extra surveyed the table with interest. “Wow,” he said. “This is old school procrastination.” He sat down on the ottoman and picked up the box.
He’d read my blog post, he said. He and Skater Boy had talked about it at lunch. He ran his fingers through the box of pieces, looking for edge pieces. I snapped some more pieces into place. Then the boys went out in the backyard to throw.