Life lessons from 1000 piece puzzle

I originally wrote this in a notebook in December 2016. I was 10 weeks into adoptive parenting and remember writing this as though it was yesterday. I was feeling like a failure as a mum and was scared I wouldn’t have what it takes to build a family and give my children the love and security they needed and deserved. 

In an effort to give myself a bit of headspace, I pulled out a puzzle I hadn’t worked on in months and, after working on it, wrote these notes:

  1. You have everything you need

You thought the pieces were missing but it turned out you just had a couple of them in the wrong places. After a break, you came back and it was obvious what you needed to do. You moved a few things around, it all fell into place.

Start trusting yourself. Just because things don’t look perfect right now, doesn’t mean you don’t have what it takes. Stop assuming that you are not enough. Stop looking for more pieces as though you don’t already possess them. It’s true that you need to develop but you are perfectly capable of doing that. Take breaks and gain perspective.

I find it interesting that I wrote in the third person. Even as these revelations unfolded, it felt like they belonged to someone calm and wise – definitely not me then!

2. Be OK with ‘fits and starts’

There are moments where it all flows, to the point of feeling a little too easy and then suddenly becomes so difficult you want to give up. That’s normal! Relax!

You’re doing a big thing. Don’t try and force the rhythm and speed of change. Let things happen as they will. Enjoy the good times and keep them in mind when things get tough. They are evidence that you can do it.

3. All you have to do is keep going

No matter how difficult it is or how little progress it feels like you’re making, the only thing you have to do is keep going. One piece at a time.

By all means, try a few different things, learn what works and what doesn’t, but the most important thing you can do is to just keep going.

I am far calmer about parenting now. It feels natural and the challenges I experience feel, for the most part, quite similar to those of any other parent. 

The ups and downs and fits and starts in life can be exhausting and require resilience.

All we can do is trust ourselves and keep going. 

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