• Claire, daughter of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley, plays guitar
    Family & Friends

    5th Grade Graduation

    Today is your last day of 5th grade. When you were just 5 years old, you held the hands of both of your parents as you stood on the big field, waiting for the first day of kindergarten. It was loud and filled with hundreds of people and you were uncharacteristically quiet. Your eyes were big and you squeezed my hand. I squeezed it back three times to say, “I love you” in our secret code. When it was time for the adults to leave, you clung to me and to your father. You cried and screamed for us, and in the end, your teacher had to hold you while…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley laughs with her friend
    Family & Friends

    The 5 Friends a Widow Needs

    I’ve been thinking a lot about my friends lately, especially because I don’t get to see them in person very often. Yes, sometimes I’ll pass someone on a walk a catch up for a moment, and yes, I do like to connect virtually. But as we all know, it’s not really the same as having a group of people gathered around your kitchen island, drinking beer and making chili and laughing about the week. I’ve also been remembering all of the support they have provided me over the past two and a half years. There are so many ways that my friends have kept me afloat that it’s hard to…

  • 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…

  • Black and white photo of parents of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Family & Friends

    The Boy on the Bike

    I want to tell you a love story. A boy meets a girl. They are out on a double-date, but not with each other. Still, the attraction is there, so they ditch their original dates and decide to go out a few times with one another after that. But the girl has an on-again, off-again boyfriend who shows back up in town. And so their very brief romance ends. Nine months later, the boy is riding his bike, and he sees the girl walking down the street. They chat, he asks her out, and she says yes. They start dating. The girl’s on-again, off-again boyfriend (the same one from before)…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley with son Tommy looks away from camera
    Family & Friends

    I’ll Be Paying People Back for Carpool When I’m 80

    I was at a party a few months ago, and someone asked me how I was doing. I told her that I was okay, managing life day-by-day, and learning how to ask for a lot of help. “The thing about asking for help,” I said, “is that I have to ask people to do things for me knowing that I’ll never pay them back.” “Of course you do,” the woman said back. “It’s different, of course, but when I was working in government, I needed a lot of help with my kids. It’s been years, but I always say that I’ll be paying people back for carpool when I’m 80.”…

  • Groceries like that delivered to DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Family & Friends

    A Genuine Offer, Freely Given, With Gladness

    Okay, here’s a little secret about widowed parenting (or at least my version of widowed parenting): sometimes I leave my kids home alone. I try not to. Claire is old enough to watch her brothers, yes, but Tommy is still little and I don’t want to put such a burden on her. That first summer after Shawn died, I actually looked up what the rules were about leaving kids home alone. My dad was gone and I wanted to be able to run around the block or pop out to get some milk without taking all three of them every single time. I was dismayed to learn that they needed…