• Drawing of family by son of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Parenting

    Relationship to Student

    The thing about the start of school is that it’s filled with a million “get to know you” questionnaires and projects. What’s your favorite color? Do you prefer to do math or read a book? What TV shows do you watch? Who is in your family? Oh, yes, there’s always that last one. It’s an important one, and as a teacher, I don’t shy away from it either. It’s vital to understanding more about the student in front of you. And yet, I now know what a bomb it can feel like to answer that question, especially if all of the other kids are making posters with a mom, a…

  • Boyfriend of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley watches children in ocean
    Parenting

    Family Resemblance

    I was walking with Claire on a mostly-deserted trail when we saw a man coming towards us. We moved to the side to let him pass and he asked, “Is that your family up ahead?” About 30 minutes earlier, all three kids had been ready to quit the hike. There were so many mosquitos and everyone was really hot. Chris had done the hike many times before, and kept trying (mostly unsuccessfully) to encourage the kids to “just keep going!” Finally, in a fit of desperation, Austin ran ahead, though Claire refused to do the same. Chris volunteered to catch up with Austin. He was also carrying Tommy on his…

  • Food on table for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Parenting

    Highs and Lows

    Every night at dinner, we go around the table and share our highs and lows. Usually, Claire’s highs revolve around some sort of fun activity (“baking cakes with mom!”) and Austin’s highs are often about the food we are eating (he is my child who really loves my cooking, bless him.) Tommy is more of a wild card. With less ability to carefully reflect on his day, he often copies Austin or says something nonsensical. But over the past week he’s had a theme: his father. Tommy still calls Shawn by his name, something I’ve tried long and hard to change but I’ve come to accept. The thing is, Tommy…

  • School supplies for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Parenting

    School and Single Parenting

    Every single parent I know is obsessed with what’s going to happen in September. Will schools fully open? Will we have to continue to home school our children? Will we do some sort of hybrid model? There are so many questions and no good solutions. Consequently, everyone is freaking out. I was talking to an acquaintance the other day and we were lamenting what the fall might look like. She and her partner are able to work remotely, but noted that without school, she gets very little done. I commiserated with her, because I get it. But do you know what I was thinking? It may be bad for you,…

  • Cups like those in kitchen of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Parenting

    Put Your Dishes in the Dishwasher

    I have a sign in my kitchen with our three house rules. They are rules that I borrowed from my aunt Nancy (aka “Nana”), ones that all of the grandkids know they must follow when they are at her house: Put your dishes in the dishwasher No crying unless there’s blood If you want something, get it yourself I mean, these are pretty solid rules. Clean up your own stuff. Don’t whine about things that aren’t a big deal. Try and solve your own problems. Sure, maybe there could be one about behaving compassionately, but I guess Nana assumed good intent towards others. Or maybe there could be one about…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley plays with her children in a fountain
    Parenting

    “Making It”

    When I was in graduate school, I listened to a presentation by a professor about single moms. At the time, I was a 28-year-old without children, so I didn’t question much of what he said (although he wasn’t a parent or a woman, which did make me think, “how does he really know what they think?” Actually, now that I write that as a 41-year-old single mom, I’m thinking, “there’s no way he truly understood what their experiences were like!” But I digress.) Anyway, his theory was that the single moms were grouped into two categories which basically consisted of “I can’t do this anymore” and “making it.” I actually…