• Children of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley smile in yard on last day of school
    Family & Friends

    The Last Day of School

    At the end of every school year, I have to create an individual report for every student in each of my classes. I write things like, “Jack has shown strong growth in historical writing this year, as shown by…” They are sometimes dry, though I try to show the parents of my students how much their kids have learned by using specific examples. Still, I know it’s really only part of what they learn in my class. Do they know how to support their argument in writing or analyze the Constitution in a debate? This stuff is important. But it’s not all of what I do in class. Trying to…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley with husband Shawn and baby Claire
    Things That Suck

    Not a Shitty Husband

    I was with a friend a few weeks ago who was recovering from surgery.  He was hurting, and I suggested he take a painkiller. “I did that for about three weeks after the surgery,” he said, “but I’ve stopped doing that.” “Why?” I asked.  “Take the drugs!  There’s no reason to hurt like you are.” “Yes there is,” he said.  “Because I hurt when I’m starting to over-do it.  The pain warns me to stop.” “Right,” I said, feeling silly, “that, of course, is why pain exists.” We laughed a bit.  But I thought about this idea later.  We have physical pain to warn us about something – a headache…

  • Graduating class of school where DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley delivered commencement address

    Marjorie’s Graduation Speech

    Welcome families, friends, teachers, and graduates.  To the class of 2019: thank you for inviting me to speak.  I’m so lucky to be here. And so are you.  You made it past this first big finish line: high school graduation.  You wrestled with the complicated history of feminism with Julie. You explored your identity through art with Michelle.  You learned about biogeochemical cycles from CA. And now, you’re getting ready to start the rest of your life. While I’m hopeful for all of you, I can’t predict your future.  I don’t know whether you’ll major in engineering or graphic design.  I don’t know who you’ll marry (or whether you’ll get…

  • Image of garage similar to that of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    What Not to Say

    Soulmates and Other Things I Don’t Believe In

    I don’t believe in soulmates. So when I was pouring my heart out to my therapist the other day and she said to me, “It’s so hard for you because Shawn was your soulmate,” I had to stop and say, “no, I don’t believe in soulmates. We just really loved each other.” I didn’t mean to be rude. She was being empathetic. When people hear me talk about Shawn, they can feel the love in my voice. They can hear about our almost-always-happy marriage. They think, “well, they must have been soulmates.” But I don’t believe in soulmates. Neither did Shawn. In fact, one time we tried to explain this…

  • Claire Brimley daughter of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley makes muffins in their kitchen in a blue robe in Washington

    Sick Day

    The call came from the nurse just an hour after school began. “I have Claire here in my office,” the nurse said, “she’s got a fever and is complaining of a headache. I need you to come and get her.” My dad was back in Oregon for the summer, and so this meant that my work for the day had to be set aside. I went to her school to pick her up. She didn’t look good. “My head hurts,” Claire said as I walked into the office. I put her in her blue robe when we got home and then tucked her in bed. She fell asleep. I worked…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley gets car battery repaired
    New Perspectives

    The Day the Car Didn’t Start

    The day the car didn’t start was a day when I really needed the car to start. I guess that’s usually how it goes, right? As usual, I had risen at five in the morning, gone on a run and pulled myself together by the time my kids woke up. “Okay,” I said to the three of them at breakfast, “here’s the plan. Grandpa Tom will take Tommy to his allergy shots. I’ll drop Austin off with the Wilsons and Claire is coming with me to Children’s Hospital to get a blood draw. We’ll all need to go in a few minutes.” I rounded the big kids up and we…