This I Believe

Ann - Lyons, Georgia
Entered on November 28, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50

A jigsaw puzzle is defined as…”a puzzle that requires you to reassemble a picture”

My first 39 years on earth, I believed life was a breeze. I grew up in a “good catholic” family; 3 boys and 3 girls who never really needed or wanted for anything. I got the first job I applied for where I stayed for 13 years, always had a boyfriend, married the man I wanted to, had the 3 girls I dreamed of and my husband and I successfully ran our own businesses. Hadn’t lost anyone, hadn’t had any sickness. I believed the day I was born I was a full, put-together puzzle with no pieces missing. I would stay this nice, clean puzzle until something bad happened and then with age, events and time, my pieces would be gone and, as the last one fell away, so would I. I knew it all; I was profound and prolific with my “puzzle theory” and shared it with all who would listen. I had it all figured out.

In May of 2001, my big brother died suddenly. A few years later, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with a brain tumor and died within 4 months, and the next year, my father-in-law died. That’s when I began to realize that I had it all wrong and I became very humbled.

This I Believe….I was not a full, put-together puzzle when I was born; quite the contrary. I actually earned my first puzzle piece the day I came out screaming. I earned pieces for my first drink, smoke and kiss and knowing that I shouldn’t have done any of them, wrecking my parents car, graduating from high school, flunking out after one year of college, and realizing that my first true love was finally over. Big pieces were earned for meeting the man who would commit to walking with me forever and that same man being reduced to a bowl of jello the first time he held our daughters. I’ve earned them for inconsiderate comments that taught me a lesson, bad chicken casseroles, and while on my knees the night of September 11th praying for God’s guidance. I earned one the day I couldn’t say I had 3 brothers anymore and the day I sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” to my mother-in-law as her puzzle became complete.

When my daughter was small, she always hid one jigsaw puzzle piece so she could be the one to finish it. She would lean back and look at the whole thing very carefully; taking in the full effect of it’s near completeness. Full of pride, she would run her hand across its smooth face as she dramatically and ceremoniously placed the last piece. Even then, she knew the rules of reassembling the picture; at 4 years old she was already way ahead of me.