Over 20 years later, a wonderful family memory takes shape in the form of a jigsaw puzzle

Kay was recently at her mom’s apartment in Dallas, helping her go through items she wants to get rid of. That’s becoming more and more commonplace as, at 88, she makes every effort to downsize — i.e., pawn stuff off on her four kids.

When Kay came home with this small tin, covered by a precious memory of me cradling the oldest of our two children near Big Tex at the State Fair in October 2002, I did a double take. It took me a minute to remember we’d ordered a jigsaw puzzle of the photo to give Kay’s parents, Caryl and Shelley, as a Christmas gift that year. I’d totally forgotten.

The photo itself, though, is one I could never forget. Will was just 14 months old and wearing the cutest little dinosaur outfit. His dad, who turned 42 the following February, was already well on his way to the silver mane he’s had for quite some time.

Of course, since Kay brought the adorable photo puzzle home, I had to put it together. Mind you, I’m no puzzle pro, so it took me hours — deep into the night, in fact — to finish.

But I was determined not to go to bed until every piece of Will, me, Big Tex, his XXXXXL shirt and jeans, the Fair Park Tower Building, and blue sky was in place. I finally trudged off to sleep about 3:30 a.m.

So hard to believe this memorable photo, taken by Kay with an actual camera that recorded the date (October 7, 2002), is just over 20 years old, and the little brown-haired, brown-eyed one is now 21 and about 6 feet tall.

Our lives are lived in an instant, it seems. We spend so much time capturing micro-instants for posterity, and then they get lost in our cellphones, cloud collections — and for us older folks, in our boxes, albums, scrapbooks — only to pop back up again when we don’t expect it.

I’m so glad this one did. ❤ 

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