Puzzle girl | Maya's Gifts

Puzzle girl


January 1, 2005

Puzzle girl,

You have always enjoyed puzzles.  A month or so ago, I went to Nora and Lowell’s house.  They were giving away lots of Lowell’s old toys.  Daddy warned me not to get anything as “we have enough junk in the house.”  Against his advice, I went and tried to be very selective.  I picked up about four or five items, including two 300-piece puzzles.  I don’t know what I was thinking…perhaps when Adin was 12, he’d get to them.  They seemed daunting to me.

05 01b 002

One day, Mathew was having a bath.  Adin was working on homework, I was on the computer and I hear you from your room saying, “hey, you guys, I gotta show you something!”  I came upstairs to find that you completed a 300-piece rain forest puzzle ALL ON YOUR OWN!  This was an amazing feat; I could hardly believe it.  You were in your glory, (understandably so)!  I had to see how it was even possible for you to do such an overwhelming task, so I did the next one with you.  You didn’t even use the picture on the box as a model.  You didn’t work from the edges.  You had a sense and piece by piece, you found where they fit, in some cases using trial and error.

05 01b 012

What was remarkable to me was how “in the moment” you are during the process.  You are “right there.”  You are not thinking about the worries of the world or what you will do after puzzles, or who you should have called on the phone, or anything else.  You are in the moment.  In fact, doing a 300-piece puzzle is no different for you than doing a 30-piece puzzle.  In a 30-piece puzzle, the pieces may be bigger, but the process is still the same.


You are very present and spontaneous.  You have fun.   You laugh, you smile, you sing the whole while.  It is somewhat addictive for you too, as you are driven to complete at least certain sections, if not the entire puzzle.  These are all wonderful lessons of life.  Thank you for sharing them with me!


Top photo was taken at Maya Tulum, Mexico.  The others, NYC.  All from January and February 2005, Maya was not yet 4 1/2 years old. 


  • Adorable, brilliant girl. So much gratitude for knowing her, so much sadness for losing her. love, Jo

  • It still amazes me that you documented all these beautiful moments. As always, love to you and your family.

    • I feel so fulfilled having maintained these journals over the years. I read each of the stories and treasure the memories. For this one (as all of them), it really brings me back to the moment. For this particular one, I remember a distinct moment in which I had a puzzle piece in hand, wondering where it should go. I tried Maya’s approach, without looking at the photo, and I couldn’t place it. She graciously took it out of my hand and said, “here mommy, it goes here.” She had a knowing. A knowing that was a true gift on so many levels.

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