• Holiday card of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    What Not to Say

    Holiday Cards (Part 2)

    As we put our holiday card together last month, Chris and I debated what to write on the back. We’d already decided to put “all you need is love” on the front, but we recognized that there were going to be some people who would be super confused when they got our card. For my friends, who was this new guy on the front? And (maybe even more confusing) for Chris’s friends, who was this woman and these three kids with him? So, on the back we wrote the following: Not sure who one (or four) of the people on this card are? Drop us a line. We can talk…

  • Christmas ornament for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Holidays

    Gingee

    Every single year at the end of November, it happens again. No matter how much I try and remember, no matter where I look, I just cannot find what I need. I cannot find Gingee. Gingee is our Christmas elf. She’s actually just a stuffed doll that Shawn and I got when Claire was 4 or 5 during the elf-on-the-shelf craze (Claire named our elf Gingee at the time.) For years, we pretended that Gingee would show up during the month of December to watch over the kids and “report back to Santa at night.” Because Gingee had to fly to the North Pole when everyone was sleeping, she often…

  • Tree branches on wood for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Love and Chris

    The Tree Sale

    When Chris and I started dating, we understood that our relationship might elicit a few raised eyebrows or puzzled looks. What we didn’t realize was how often people would assume that we were a nuclear family that all shared one last name. It happens a lot when we’re out in a public place, like a park, and we see a group of strangers. We just take it in stride, because let’s be honest here: people assume a lot about strangers that is inaccurate. But what I find odder is when it happens in our community, as it did a few weekends ago at the elementary school fundraiser. Chris’s sister Becky…

  • Family of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley walks in field
    Love and Chris

    Holiday Cards

    Holiday cards have not been easy for me over the past few years. The year Shawn was dying, we somehow sent one out with the five of us on the front, and then for months afterwards when I’d go into my friends’ houses, I’d see our photo up on their walls. I loved that they were remembering him…and it was hard to face at the same time. He looked sick. The next year, I had no idea what to do about a holiday card, because the options I was faced with included statements like, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year!” and “oh what fun!” which was basically the…

  • Christmas tree like that of tree in home of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Holidays

    Christmas Magic

    “Mom, I have to tell you something important,” Claire said to me in late November.  “I know Gingee isn’t real.” I froze, a bit.  Gingee is our elf.  She’s actually just a stuffed doll that Shawn and I got when Claire was 4 or 5 during the elf-on-the-shelf craze (Claire named our elf Gingee at the time.)  For years, we pretended that Gingee would show up during the month of December to watch over the kids and “report back to Santa at night.”  Because Gingee had to fly to the North Pole when everyone was sleeping, she often ended up in a new spot each morning. I found the elf…

  • Christmas list of Tommy son of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Parenting

    Tommy’s Christmas List

    Tommy has the most insane Christmas list this year. He’s been working on it for over a month, and there are dozens of things across the two pages. He can’t spell anything, so he’s constantly asking me to help him spell things like, “Freddy Krueger claws.” That’s just the beginning. Also included are the following: a drone, a virtual reality bodysuit, a Jason mask, treasure, a phone, a motorcycle, a real elf, and $10,000. Austin keeps trying to tell him that he won’t get any of this stuff on his list, but Tommy believes in Santa. And not just any Santa. He believes in the one who does magical things.…