• 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…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley at kitchen counter with partner
    Love and Chris

    Kitchen Counter

    The kitchen is my favorite room in my house. About a year before Shawn died, we remodeled part of the house, putting in a new kitchen with more light and a few more cabinets. I had never been a big cook, but I was excited about the project. I thought that having a nicer space might help me improve my culinary skills. Things didn’t quite go as planned. The kids were still so small and Shawn was working on building a new business and my teaching job was picking up, and there wasn’t any time. I figured once Tommy was in full-time preschool, I’d be able to really work on…

  • 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…

  • Sun peeking through trees for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    New Perspectives

    Election Day 2020

    Like many middle-school kids in America, Claire is hyper-aware of the upcoming election. She may not understand all of the nuances, but she does get that the adults around her are on edge. She knows that the stores in DC are getting boarded up. She hears about the election every day at school from her peers and teachers and she also observes a lot when I’m teaching my government classes. She’s still a child, but she’s too old for me to shield her from much. The other day she turned to me and said, “what if something bad happens after the election?” “Claire,” I said, “I understand your concern, but…