• Austin and family of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Family & Friends

    Just Like Your Dad

    Everyone says you look like your father. It’s true, Austin. Photos of Shawn at your age show not just a resemblance, but an image so similar I almost always have a moment when I think it’s a photo of you. The the shape of your eyes and the way that you smile and the size of your head and so many other features about you look just like every photo I’ve ever seen of him. Even the way that you hold a pencil is similar, as is the look in your eyes when you focus. Maybe this is why when he died, I worried the most about you. You were…

  • Family of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley next to barn
    Family & Friends

    FaceTime with my Family

    “Tell Chris the family loves him.” It was a text from my dad, something that might not seem like a lot, but from my dad, it was a big deal. My father is a man who is loyal to the people around him, and who loves me and my sister and his grandkids so much, but he is also someone who doesn’t always express that emotion so readily in writing. His birthday cards to me always say something like, “Enjoy your birthday. Love, Dad.” My dad is obviously not unfeeling or unsentimental – on the contrary, he’s been devoted to our family for the entirety of his life. First, to…

  • Son of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley looks at crossword puzzle
    Family & Friends

    Guess Random Numbers

    Every night at dinner, we do highs and lows. Last week, Tommy had a big low, and we all talked about it. That day, he had a math assessment. He’s in first grade, so this assessment didn’t seem too difficult. He just had to do basic subtraction. But he struggled, and we could hear him sigh – and then cry – from the dining room table where he does virtual school. We texted his teacher about it, and she was kind and loving and gave us some strategies to help him. We tried to encourage him and he finally finished and felt relatively accomplished. We were glad he persevered through…

  • Children bury Tommy in sand for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Family & Friends

    Seven Kisses

    Every night at bedtime, you make me give you six kisses. “Because I’m six!” you say, and you count them up each time. It doesn’t matter if I’m tired or if I’m stressed or if I really just need you to get in bed. I have to do those six kisses. Tonight, I’ll give you seven. Because today, my sweet Tommy, you are seven years old. How impossible it was to imagine, all those years ago, that you would be a boy that is thriving? That despite the fact that you lost your dad when you were just three, you’d still find a way to see so much joy in…

  • Father and child of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley in their kitchen
    Family & Friends

    Why Heat the House When I Can Wear a Hat?

    It’s been almost a year since I last hugged my dad. I know I’m not special in this regard. I know that so many people have lost so much more. I feel lucky that my dad loves to talk on the phone and FaceTime with his grandkids. I am relieved that he is safe in rural Oregon, away from the germs of my children and the crowds of the big city and the Covid spikes that have happened around the country. I am glad that he doesn’t mind solitude. I usually call him as I’m making dinner. It’s one of my favorite times of day now. It’s funny – I…

  • Austin Brimley son of DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley wades through ocean
    Family & Friends

    I Am From

    A few weeks ago, Austin came downstairs and wanted my help editing a poem he wrote. “It’s for school,” he said. Their class had read the poem “Where I’m From” by George Ella Lyon and he was supposed to write his story – the story of his life – in a similar style. The kids were all working on a shared document, so we could see what his classmates had written. As you may imagine, there was a lot of discussion of favorite sports and playing with siblings and other fourth grade interests. On the first line, Austin had written a bit about being from “mom and dad,” but he…