• Son of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale looks at notes for his father
    Parenting

    We Will Not Look Away From You

    The first weekend in May was extraordinarily monumental for our family. Or at least that was how it seemed in the weeks leading up to it. I’d looked forward to this weekend for months. We’d sent out invitations and picked out outfits and planned for lots of fun. Nana and Pop would be coming down, too. I was ready for two big events: our adoption party on Saturday, and Rite 13, the coming-of-age ceremony for Claire at our church, on Sunday. Saturday morning we got up early and my mind was already spinning. I needed to clean the bathrooms and order pizza and organize who would be at Austin’s baseball…

  • Woman typing at computer for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley Hale
    Parenting

    When Auto-Fill Won’t Cut It

    I’ve filled out so many forms in my life. That’s part of being an adult, I suppose. But the form-filling-out got way more intense when I became a widow. When Shawn died, I seemed to need a new form for every single account I had everywhere. Sure, that made sense at the bank, but it seemed crazy to me that I needed a needed to fill out a new form (declaring my newly widowed status) for the internet company, among many others. But the worst kinds of forms were the ones I didn’t have to totally re-do. The worst kinds of forms were the drop-down menus that I had to…

  • Family of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale walks in woods on wedding day
    Parenting

    Benefits and Responsibilities

    The first thing that happened in our Zoom adoption hearing was that Tommy accidentally knocked over the computer and sent it tumbling to the floor. We recovered the computer and apologized to the judge and everyone laughed. It was family court, after all. We’d been looking forward to our adoption date for months at that point. I say “our” adoption date, but really, I had nothing to do with it other than signing a paper saying that I agreed with Chris’s adoption of the kids. He was the one who had to do all the background checks and financial statements and letters of intent and interviews with the lawyer. Mostly,…

  • Husband of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale hugs their son at wedding
    Parenting

    When He Is Theirs, and They Are His

    Most kids meet their dad at birth. But that doesn’t tell the whole story of our family, not really. One father saw them come into this world, and one father is with them now. This is the story of the kids and their second father. He did not see them take their first breaths or walk their first steps or go to their first days of kindergarten. He did not see toddler tantrums and diaper blowouts and spaghetti all over the high chair. They were not his then, and he was not theirs. When he first came in their lives, they were little, but not so little as to immediately…

  • Family of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale looks out over view of lake
    Parenting

    Where I Want to Be

    The night was like any other. It was raining. I made a roast chicken. We said grace, something about loving one another, and Austin told us about trying out for the school play. Afterwards, Chris and I lingered at the table, talking about life and love and everyday stuff. Eventually, he started to do the dishes as we had a drink and listened to Chris Stapleton. Claire wandered down. She needed help with her Spanish homework. The three of us started to talk. I was trying to figure out what to write for my blog post this week, and I asked Chris and Claire for some ideas. Chris turned to…

  • The two dads, Shawn and Chris, for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley Hale
    Parenting

    Three Kids, Two Dads

    These days, everyone in our community is used to hearing Claire, Austin and Tommy call Chris, “Dad.” But it wasn’t always that way. In fact, for the first year he was in their lives, they called him “Chris.” He didn’t ever ask them to call him anything else, and they didn’t think to do it. It wasn’t until the summer of 2021 when Claire first decided to call Chris, “Dad.” I wrote about it in the blog post, Ask a Widow: How Do Your Kids Think About Their (Dead) Dad When They Have a (New, Alive) Dad?: Over the past few months, Claire went from calling Chris by his name…