My mom finally got a smartphone. It’s amusing to me because she fights technology. She doesn’t know how to use her computer and sees no use for wireless internet at her home. (Which drives those of us visiting crazy.) However, when she needed to change phone plans after my dad died, my sister talked her into upgrading her phone–to an iPhone. And it’s taken her less than a week to text like a pro. Tonight I called her in response to a text she sent today, knowing that my answer would be too cumbersome to type out on my phone. After I explained that to her, she replied Yes, I’m finding it sometimes easier to call than text. As if she’s been texting for ages. It made me smile. Partly because it’s funny how quickly she’s adapted to the technology that just a month ago she would have denied needing or wanting or being able to understand. But mostly, I’m proud of my mom for branching out in even this small way. There’s a sort of independence I see in the fact that she’s embracing the new. I think that’s important now that my dad is gone. We talked a little tonight about how she’s struggling with the moments she’s too keenly aware of his absence. How she’s trying to stay busy. It’s not an easy task to learn to be alone after living with someone for 40 years. Not only does she need to navigate the practical aspects of that (she wishes she had paid attention to how to run the lawn mower, but she thought she’d have more time to learn) but she also needs to figure out how to maneuver through the loneliness. I’m grateful for the fact that she’s not shrinking from the independence that’s been thrust upon her, but rising to the challenge. She’ll make it. I know that. It’s these baby steps that are helping. Well, that and the fact that she’s a strong, intelligent woman. More so than she sometimes gives herself credit.