• Claire Brimley, daughter of DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley Hale, at the colon cancer race in DC
    Missing Shawn

    They Remain for Me, Too

    The kids know that the annual 5K ScopeItOut run (put on by the Colorectal Cancer Alliance) is a really big deal in our house. We talk about it for weeks and they know that the team is one that is in honor of their dad Shawn. We even have t-shirts. They are all still young enough that they think the team name “The Turd Offset” is hilarious. (Lots of team names utilize the puns of butts, and ours is the same. Shawn worked on “The Third Offset” strategy when he was in government.) In any case, this year was no different. Everyone was excited to do the run, and for…

  • Daughter of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale, Claire, hugs her
    Holidays

    Today, You Get the Ring

    Many years ago, my grandmother’s grandmother turned 13. On that day, her father took her into town via horse and buggy, and bought her a tiny little ring, just perfect for her hand. I do not know her name, and I am not even sure if it was actually my grandmother’s grandmother, or someone even further back than that, or merely my grandmother’s mother. I only had the story told to me once, on my 13th birthday. On that day, I didn’t just hear the story. I also got the ring. My mom gave it to me. She had gotten it from her mother on her 13th birthday, and her…

  • Chris and Claire hug at wedding of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale
    Parenting

    She’s His Daughter

    I wasn’t really prepared for the moment when it finally arrived. Though I knew it was coming, at least some day. I knew there would be a time when I would witness it, when I would see what it looked like right before my eyes. And yet, I was still stunned when I first saw Claire dance with Chris. Of course, it wasn’t really the first time they had ever danced in each other’s presence. We dance all the time in our kitchen, and sometimes Chris offers to show Claire a dance step. But since there haven’t been any school dances in the past few years, we haven’t been able…

  • Claire Brimley daughter of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale speaks at wedding
    Parenting

    Claire’s Wedding Speech

    Below is a speech given by my 12-year-old daughter, Claire, at our wedding. She told me months beforehand that she wanted to say something, but she wanted it to be a surprise to all the guests. She also wanted to surprise her dad, Chris. At the reception, she stood up in front of everyone, without any fear, and gave this final toast. For a long time it was just my mom and my two younger brothers, Austin and Tommy. But a year and a half ago, that changed when Chris – my dad! – came into our lives.  Of course, he wasn’t my dad right away. He was just my…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley with cousins and Aunt Terry outside tattoo parlor
    Family & Friends

    Terry Gets a Tattoo

    “Claire and I found a little bitty ladybug. She was about 4 or 5. And I said, ‘We never kill ladybugs. They’re good luck, and sometimes they fly away. So we watched it awhile, and then it flew away!'” Those lines were spoken by my 78-year-old Aunt Terry, as she recounted a tender moment she once had with Claire. In the tattoo parlor. Let me be clear – the story about the ladybug wasn’t set in a tattoo parlor. Rather, Terry told us this story to explain what she was doing. And what she was doing was getting her first tattoo – of a ladybug, on her shoulder, over 4th…

  • Claire daughter of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Holidays

    Life is Unfair. But It Can Be Beautiful, Too.

    Sometimes I catch you, when you think no one is looking, smiling in the mirror and doing some of your favorite moves. They are moves I remember from when I was about your age. They are cheerleading moves. I mean, really, cheerleading? That’s your chosen sport? But no matter how surprised I am by this, you don’t care. You love cheerleading. I can’t be upset about this. I was also a cheerleader in high school. I’m sure my own mother saw me do the exact same moves when I was your age. But what strikes me, when I see you practicing a cheer, is not how flexible you are or…