I never liked puzzles. Growing up, I remember family members taking the time to put one together as I would think, "that is NOT for me." It seemed like such a waste. Plus, they are so time-consuming!
Fast forward to last Christmas and attempting more Eleanor-style activities, I was presented with this "not for me task." Well, let me tell you, I was wrong. Within minutes of pouring hundreds of tiny pieces all over the kitchen table, I was accompanied by eager children who began flipping pieces over…then finding all the edges…then sorting by color…
I was amazed how quickly time would pass as we all worked together to complete a "section" before it was time to switch gears and head off to church or make dinner. I have since found that if a puzzle is out during Advent, it isn't that rare to see one of us walk past the table and then circle back to see if we can quickly find a piece. And more often than not, that "quick" moment causes another one of us to get off the couch and join in on the hunt. Before long, it's another evening of puzzle time.
The biggest and most pleasant surprise has been the conversation. I underestimated how much the kids would sit and talk while working on the puzzle. Because it is relaxing and doesn't take much mental power, conversation comes with little effort, and more naturally, since you aren't staring at each other 🙂 Doug and I have even been known to work on the puzzle, sipping coffee in the early mornings before getting the kids up. The connection it has initiated has been astonishing.
As my children get older and we are tempted by other distractions, these moments around the table have turned into more than putting together a puzzle. It has been an unexpected way to connect. It has become a tradition that I hope to continue every time they come home for Christmas and something I know we already cherish.
Thanks to Eleanor.