Missing puzzle pieces


March 24, 2013 by talkaboutyork

Today we took the boys for a family outing to the National Railway Museum Robots Live exhibition, mainly so that they were forced to get out of their PJs for the first time all weekend and because it was inside and therefore out of the hideously cold wind.

While at the railway museum, my children nagged for a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle. We’d spent yesterday doing a couple of their old puzzles. They hadn’t done any for ages, but having rediscovered them, they were keen to keep going. So I agreed, chuffed to bits that they wanted to do something that didn’t involve a screen, and bought the puzzle explaining that 1000 pieces might take some time.

We got home and immediately began working on it. Son1 lost interest in under 10 minutes. Son2 (the chief nagger) soldiered on for a good 45 minutes but then was lured away by a screen. So I continued on my own. I am pleased to report we have an outline and a few other bits connected. We have a long, long way to go. I was rewarded with a fist punch explosion by son2 for my efforts. If you don’t know what that is, rest assured it means Respect My Bro innit or something like that.

I posted on Facebook about my puzzling and my sister who lives about as far away from us as it’s possible to be without actually leaving planet earth, commented that she wished that she could pop over for a cup of tea and to help me finish it.

And just like that I got hit with a wave of sadness. How I wish that she could pop round and help me finish the puzzle. How lovely it would be to have sisters just down the road who could stop in for a quick visit, completely spur of the moment, whenever they wanted to.

If you’ve ever lost a loved one, you will know that feeling of ‘Missing’. You’re quietly pootling about with your day and something will remind you of them. It’s like being hit in the gut. You physically ache from missing them. That’s what I felt this afternoon.

I can so easily imagine both of my sisters, my mother and I sitting around the puzzle with mugs of tea, talking about nothing, every day stuff, rather than the big conversations and catching up marathons you need to have when you only see each other once every few years. It would be like going back in time.

You see, we spent a lot of time as teens doing puzzles. We did them as a family. They took ages. There was never enough light to see the tiny patterns on the pieces or enough space to spread them all out. You’d get a crick in your neck and your back would ache from stooping over the puzzle, trying to put it together. But it is such a lovely, quiet bonding time, and once complete, you can collectively celebrate the end of the sodding thing. As a friend pointed out, it is luxuriously pointless exercise. (Thanks Julia)

This afternoon made me realise that my family is like a jigsaw puzzle, with the parts scattered all over the world. I can spend hours, days, years creating a picture of my life, but there are always missing pieces. I would dearly love to have all the pieces together so that I can make the picture whole.


2 thoughts on “Missing puzzle pieces

  1. I know the feeling too. Could you have some kind of reunion? Get everyone together just once?

    • Well we had a sort of reunion over Christmas with both sisters, kids, husbands and my father (not my mum though sadly). But that’s the point – they’re reunions and you end up having to cram in the details of several years. It’s hard to get to that comforting level of talking about miscellany because you know everything that is going on in their life like you would if we saw each other regularly.

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