Thursday, February 18, 2010

Puzzling Personalities

Today I was watching Jack work on a puzzle and I had a sudden flash of insight. Not exactly the apple smacks Newton on the head and we have gravity kind of brilliance, but it was a big deal to me. Anyway, Jack was very happily assembling a puzzle and he wouldn't let me help at all. His exact words, "no, Mommy, shoo!"

And I noticed that he puts the pieces together in sections. Me, I very methodically find the corner pieces, then assemble all the edge pieces then fill in the middle. Not Jack. He worked on sections without putting the border together first. Which was kind of like fingernails on a chalkboard to my brain. I tried to encourage him to put all the border pieces together first, but he wasn't interested in Mommy's Philosophy of Puzzle Assembly. And I couldn't really say much because he was doing a great job. He got the whole puzzle done and did it pretty fast. Then he smiled and said, "look Mommy! All by myself!"

So here's my moment of insight...our kids won't always do things the way we want them to. Or the way we think is best. Or the way we would do it. Just because I put all the edge pieces together first, doesn't mean that Jack is going to do it that way. And even though I'm the mommy and my mommy-ness should make me the expert in everything, his way might just be better. Or at least better for him.

And oh, is that terrifying. Someday it won't be a puzzle, it will be a school choice or a career choice and in spite of all my motherly wisdom and nagging encouragement for him to do what I would do or to choose what I think is best for him, Jack will make his own decision. And I won't get to judge if it's right or wrong based on what I want for him or the hopes I have for his life. It's his life and his puzzle to put together. But I can pray for him and I can love him no matter what.

And yes, that is waaaaaay easier to say now when he's only three and his big decision is what book to read on the potty. I reserve the right to totally change this post in 15 years. Or sooner if Jack ever reads that potty comment and knows enough to be embarrassed.


  1. Once my middle daughter has done a puzzle once, the next time she does it she knows where in the puzzle each piece goes. So she looks at a piece and puts it down in approximately the location it goes, regardless of whether any of the other pieces near it are there yet. Amazing to watch, and nothing like I would do it! ha!

  2. Welcome to my world my darling daughter! I have had to change my mental "posts" many times as I watched you grow in YOUR own way. By the way, never gets any easier to watch your child fly in their own way. But it does validate your own worth to see your child make good decisions. Loving them regardless of their choices.....easy as pie!