Bits and Pieces
Let me tell you a little secreto I learned when I was much younger:
I am a jigsaw Latina.
A puzzle that has taken 36 years to complete… and I’m not done yet. My entire family has done their best to help me put myself together. But they didn’t always know how, and sometimes they left the table shaking their heads. In fact, it has taken me a while to figure out which pieces I want to use. How to distinguish the good ones from the bad ones, though I think a few have probably sneaked in along the way.
Actually, I have found a piece in almost everyone I’ve known. Some knew that I took it. Others didn’t. Some, like my ‘buelita, freely gave me many of the pieces I needed to “frame in” my puzzle. From her I got Strength, Faith, and Hard Work, just to name a few.
But others, like my Tía Tere, didn’t know that I was watching and waiting. Looking for the pieces she had to give. Endurance. Compassion.
The pieces I have are diverse: Respect. Self-control. Social Conscience. Humor. Naturalist. Determinación. Cultural Pride. Acceptance.
But my favorite is Love. Because that piece will work just about anywhere in the puzzle.
I found most of my puzzle pieces when I was just a child, but I still have some missing. I think my mamá has a few that she will probably give me as she gets older and life slows her down. And I’m sure that my children both have a handful that they are hiding somewhere. I never know when they will give me one, but I am watching and waiting. And I am grateful and protective of the ones they have already given me. Joy. Paciencia. Appreciation. Selflessness.
I used to think that finding all these pieces was the best part of it all. But now I see that my biggest challenge is to be sure and give my children the right pieces to create their own puzzles. I don’t want to give them the wrong ones, so I have to be Deliberate and Cariñosa. Lucky for me, I’ve already found these, too.