I thought seriously about quitting.
I knew right from the border pieces, which is where I always start, that this puzzle was going to be difficult. Still, I managed to maintain my usual piecing pace through the completion of the main picture--St. Basil's Cathedral.
What remained was an overwhelming number of night sky pieces.
We (Jon helped me some) labored through the pieces with clouds then debated whether we should call it good. The navy and black hues were nearly impossible to differentiate unless I tilted my head to the side and held the piece at precisely the right angle.
It just wasn't fun anymore. I'm never one to not finish what I start and good enough is just not usually good enough for me, but my usual puzzle-solving self-confidence was shaken. Then the kids started making comments.
"Mom's going to fail? Mom has never failed at a puzzle."
Caleb started in with sports analogies. "Giving up would be like the #1 in puzzles being upset. I've never seen you lose to a puzzle."
I slowly persevered while battling between two opposing thoughts: "The kids need to see me demonstrate determination" and "Maybe it would be good for the kids to see me fail."
In the end, I just couldn't give up. But I needed a plan. So I got out seven plates and sorted the remaining pieces (probably nearly 500) by shape. Then came the tedious task of trying each piece that could possibly fit in the shape of the space I was trying to fill. Plate by plate, piece by piece.
We joked that we might be eating puzzle pieces for Easter dinner.
All the while, Caleb continued his commentating:
"This one thinks she can. She's trying all the pieces. This is huge! Number One is not going to be upset."
No, Number One was not going to be upset. Come hell or high water.
And five days later, I was victorious!
One night, while Lys was helping place pieces, she asked me what I was going to do with the puzzle once I was done with it. "I don't know," I told her. But to show what I did know, I broke into Taylor Swift's song with a slight variation:
"We are never, ever, ever putting this back together!"
And that's a promise.