• Son of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale jumps in ocean
    Family & Friends

    They Were Happy Years for You

    On your first day of elementary school, the teacher had to hold you as I walked away. You were screaming and crying and yelling, “Mama!” like I might never return. In your arms, you held your beloved stuffed animal, Horsey Horse. “Mama always comes back, Austin,” I said to you. You were so little – just four years old – since you started as a pre-K student. It made sense that you cried. But I hated that you never seemed to get used to school that year, and always would rather be with me. Even in Kindergarten, when you’d walk into the school with your teacher, you turned to watch…

  • Cookbook image for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley Hale
    Family & Friends

    Widows in Quarantine

    I’ve taken Covid tests so often that I know what to expect. There’s always a bit of fear, but then…everything is fine. I’m tested every week at school, and I’ve taken more rapid tests than I can count. We made everyone Covid test for our wedding. And every single time I’ve taken one, it’s been negative. Apparently, according to my dad and the National Institutes of Health, having an allergy to nuts (which I have) lowers your risk of getting Covid. Hey, I’ll take it! I mean, I’m a teacher and have been teaching in person for over a year. I have three kids in different schools and I eat…

  • Grandpa Tom and DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale make jam
    Family & Friends

    Making Jam with Grandpa Tom

    My dad does many things that other people think are hard. “It’s not hard!” he often says, when referring to doing his daily exercises or keeping up with the medical literature or giving up his retirement to help raise his grandkids. He truly believes it. I mean, if I ask him to think rationally about the time it takes to do a task, he will admit that he expends effort. But he will still claim that “it’s not hard” with a smile on his face and a ring in his voice. Sometimes he openly laughs at me if I have skepticism about the difficulty of any task. “I know it’s…

  • Son of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale performs Newsies
    Family & Friends

    “I’m Alone But I Ain’t Lonely”

    A few months ago, Austin came home from school and announced that he was going to try out for the school musical. We were a bit surprised. Claire is the performer in our family. For years, when Claire would put on shows for our family, Austin was the stage manager. He never really seemed to mind. And now he was trying out for a musical! I asked him if his friends were trying out. “A few of them,” he said, but when I pressed him further he acknowledged that none of his closest group of friends would be doing it. Those kids – the ones he hangs out with every…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale hugs family at wedding
    Family & Friends

    You Carry the Passports

    This year for Spring Break, you went to Texas. Claire and Tommy came with you, but your dad and I stayed behind in DC to work. As we packed up the bags for your first solo airplane trip, we reminded Claire about watching Tommy and calling us when you landed. She started to get really nervous. I tried to calm her down as I packed her bag with the passports. “Don’t lose these!” I said, sternly, which didn’t help her nerves. She got so upset that she had to sit down and collect herself. I looked at the passports and then at Chris. And then we both quickly decided that…

  • Son Tommy of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale runs to her at wedding
    Family & Friends

    To All That Is to Be: Yes

    When I asked you what I should write for the blog post on your birthday, Tommy, you smiled a bit and then said, “You should write about how many friends I’ve made this year. I have, like, ten new friends!'” You’ve always been like this. Joyful and happy, unaffected by the worries of the world. But that does not mean you’ve been unaware of those around you. On the contrary, you can see what’s happening with a certain clarity. It’s always been that way. When you were 3 years old and you lost your dad Shawn, you didn’t cry. Maybe you were just too young. Maybe you would be untouched…