I spoke with my mother on the phone the other night. After telling me her tidbits of personal news, she asked me if I could believe that some mass shootings had happened. I must admit, I mocked her.

Can I believe that it happened? Of course, I believe that it happened, Mom. I don’t automatically doubt what the news media reports. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, at least not to that extent. I certainly found the news appalling, but her question irked me.

Her questions often do.

We say, “how are you?” when we mean, “hello.”

We say, “can you believe it?” when we mean, “did you hear/read about this shocking incident?”

We say, “I do,” when we mean, “I do for now.”

Not everyone, of course, but as someone who got married, and meant it in the moment, even in the years leading up to the moment and at least a year after the moment, I can’t believe that I said it at all now.

Some people in this country contradict themselves by simultaneously extolling the virtues of marriage and denying those coveted virtues to a significant portion of the population. If only there were less single mothers, unless of course those single mothers are gay, in which case, they cannot be allowed to be married, then this country would miraculously have lower crime rates and more rainbows and puppies.

I don’t think that today’s social problems can be solved by yesterday’s solutions, especially not by trying to impose those solutions without modification or consideration of how society and technology have evolved. Even a person who denies Darwinian evolution must admit that the world of today is not the world of the 1950’s (at least, anyone reading these words must, written as they are on what would then have been considered a miraculous device).

I think what disappointed my mom the most about my divorce was that it set back her grandchild timetable. Fortunately, my brother took care of filling that need for her (and it’s really better that he did, since she wouldn’t get to see any children of mine nearly as often). I do think she still wants me to give her a grandchild or two, but if I were her, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

And I shouldn’t be holding my breath waiting for my mother to change her turns of phrase or fix her leaky memory. She is who she is, the star of her own dream, and I am but a bit player in the drama of her life, and she a bit player in mine.

Believe it.

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