Mom Advice

A forgotten jigsaw puzzle saved my family during quarantine

Obnoxiously cute kittens and puppies helped my family maintain our sanity during quarantine. And watercolor landscapes. And eventually, Christmas and Halloween scenes (even though it was April) because that was all we could find.

Are you confused yet?

Let me explain what I mean.

Six weeks ago, my family had the picture-perfect life. Our days were filled with school, sports, errands and socializing with friends. And then, the pandemic hit the United States and everything fell apart.

Social distancing became the new normal. Masks and gloves became the hot, new, spring accessory. We began to walk around every day scared, anxious and barely holding it together.

The quarantine hero

Three days into the quarantine, I found an old jigsaw puzzle in the hall closet. It depicted humanized cats and dogs, with goofy smiles and tongues hanging out. It was full of bright, cheerful colors and just looked fun. So I pulled it out of the closest and started working on it at the kitchen table.

One of the many jigsaw puzzles we did during quarantine
One of the many jigsaw puzzles we did during quarantine

My oldest son wandered through the kitchen, foraging for food for the five hundredth time that day.

“Oh hey! I remember that puzzle,” he said as he took a seat next to me to help get it started. We finished the edge pieces and set it aside.

Later that night, I found my husband and youngest son pouring over it, intently trying to finish the Golden Retriever in the corner of the puzzle.

The next morning, instead of scrolling though TikTok, my daughter put pieces together while she ate breakfast.

“I don’t even like puzzles,” she said, but then she continued to search for the last piece to finish the kitten in the wagon.

During quarantine, our lives are like a jigsaw puzzle

A jigsaw puzzle saved my family during quarantine
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If you think about it, a jigsaw puzzle is a pretty accurate metaphor for our lives right now. Our pre-quarantine life was a beautiful, complete scene.

But when the pandemic hit and we were confined to our homes, it was like someone cut up the picture into a thousand pieces. Now, we are left trying to put it back together in a way that makes sense.

The progression of the jigsaw puzzle during quarantine

Day by day, the puzzle on the kitchen table started to come together. Sometimes we worked on it together and sometimes we did it alone.

The puzzle became our secret weapon to not only work our brains, but to also form a family connection during the quarantine. The intricate pieces of cardboard gave us something to focus on and distracted us from the sobering reality of our lives right now.

Slowly, piece by piece, the picture on the puzzle became clearer.And really, that is what we are doing with our lives right now too.

Each day, we adjust a little more to our new reality. We attempt to put a few pieces together. We try to accept our new normal. And we keep plugging along, bit by bit.

The picture is slowly becoming clearer of how our nation will fight past this virus. The picture of what our summer and possibly the fall will look like is beginning to emerge. And whether you like it or not, that is our new truth and we will learn to cope with the situation.

Once we finished the first puzzle, we let it sit on the table overnight as a symbol of our triumph. And then we put it back in the box and went searching for another one in the hall closet. Week by week, puzzle by puzzle, we will get through this.

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How a jigsaw puzzle can help you during quarantine

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