• Son of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley holding on to rope swing in backyard

    How Widowed Parenting Prepared Me for Coronavirus Parenting

    I looked over at Tommy as he ate breakfast yesterday and realized that he looked just like an advertisement for bad parenting. He was shirtless, watching a Captain Underpants movie on an iPad and eating Eggo waffles that he was liberally dipping in syrup. He wasn’t even using a fork. I thought about taking a photo of him and texting a few friends with the headline, “mother of the year!” Of course, that text would have been seeping in irony. No way have I been mother of the year at any point during this pandemic. My kids have eaten more sugar than ever and they are in front of screens…

  • Nighttime image of street and car like that in post by DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley

    In My Driveway

    There he was, standing in my driveway. He was leaning just slightly against the garage door, grinning at me.  I hadn’t seen him in over a month, and it took a moment to sink in.  How was he here?  He was supposed to be far, far away.  How was he actually standing in my driveway? But there he was.  And within a second, I knew it wasn’t a dream.  I knew he was real and I knew he had come for me.  I ran to him as fast as I could and I threw my arms around him.  “How are you here?” I kept saying, as he laughed and I…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley sits on bench in park with children

    Mother’s Day, Year 3

    I am spending a lot of time with my children right now. I guess we all are. It’s one of the blessings and curses of this pandemic. Every day is family day. Anyway, since I rarely leave my children, they’ve become even more attached to me than usual. It’s meant that bedtime takes longer because no one wants me to leave, and that Claire insists we talk about all sorts of intense subjects at the end of the day. Almost every night as I’m leaving her room she says something like, “don’t die, mama, okay? In case you do, I want you to know that I love you so much.…

  • jam on counter of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Family & Friends

    Grandpa Tom’s Jam

    “I’m worried about the sugar,” my dad said. He was frowning. “I need 200 pounds.” I didn’t laugh, though it seems like I should have. I knew this was a big deal. My dad has just a few things he loves – my sister and me, the Clark family, golf, Texas football….and making strawberry jam. And when I say making jam, I’m not just talking about a batch or two. I’m talking about almost 200 quarts of jam. Every year. In one sitting. He’s done it since I was a child. My hometown is known for great strawberries and my dad knows all the farmers in town. Many of them…

  • Kids walking into school with backpacks like children of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley

    Teacher Appreciation

    The day that I took my husband to the hospital for surgery, we walked our children to school together. I mean, we didn’t really walk, since Shawn couldn’t do that anymore. We drove the car to the school parking lot and then we slowly made our way to the drop off point for the kids. Tommy was still in preschool, so I carried him as we took Austin to his first grade line and then Claire to her third grade line. The night before I had emailed the kids’ teachers and told them that Shawn had stage 4 cancer. “We told our children tonight,” I wrote, “and Austin didn’t seem…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley looks at husband Shawn from bed
    Things That Suck

    Hard Things Are Hard

    It had been a really hard week at my school. An incident had shocked my students and made them fearful and frustrated. I stood in the back of the auditorium, listening to our head of school talk to the students. I sighed. I was about a year into widowhood and everything seemed hard. I didn’t need anything else on my plate. The head of school talked about the importance of holding space for each other and reaching out to teachers if students needed more support. The kids were listening, but it wasn’t an easy talk. At one point, our head of school paused his speech. I think he was attempting…