• Claire, daughter of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley, chops wood
    New Perspectives

    The First Day of School, Part 2

    When class lists came out, the kids were thrilled. Both of the boys got teachers they really liked, and Claire was excited about the new teachers and classes she was going to have. Everyone was back in real, full-day school for the first time since March 2020 and the mood in our house was one of excitement. I felt that way, too. Really. But I also had this nagging sensation in the back of my mind. What will this year hold for them? Are they ready for this transition, both in school and in our family life? And – logistically – do I need to email their teachers with our…

  • Books in library for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Work

    Time Travel

    I love teaching for so many reasons, but I get a particular thrill when I hear from a student who I taught long ago. At this point, I have many students who are grown adults with careers and partners and even children of their own. Sometimes my students write me notes or find me on social media, and every once in a while I run into them out in the world. In fact, when I was in labor with Austin ten years ago, I was triaged with another woman who was also in labor. “Ms. Clark?” she asked, using my maiden name from my earliest teaching days, and I turned…

  • Desk with books for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    What Not to Say

    It’s Not Too Late to Say “I’m Sorry”

    About six months after Shawn died, I stood up at a staff meeting. It was the end of school, and we were gathered for staff week, trying to encourage each other as we ended the school year. It was a school year that I had mostly missed, both because I was out on leave and because once I returned, I was emotionally not always there even when I had been physically present. I was limping towards the finish line. “I want to say thank you,” I said. “When I came back after Shawn died, so many of you supported me. So many of you came up to me in the…

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

    Opinions on Kinetic Sand

    The other day, Tommy got out his kinetic sand and played with it for hours at the dining room table. When he was done he cleaned it up. For those of you with young children, you know that “cleaning up” kinetic sand is just like cleaning up real sand, except that it is also neon and somehow sticks to surfaces even worse than the real thing. “This stuff is terrible,” Chris said, as he tried to scrape little bits of it out of the crevices of the table. “I know,” I said. “I don’t even know why we have it except that Tommy loves it.” We joked about what kind…

  • Austin Brimley son of DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley wades through ocean
    Family & Friends

    I Am From

    A few weeks ago, Austin came downstairs and wanted my help editing a poem he wrote. “It’s for school,” he said. Their class had read the poem “Where I’m From” by George Ella Lyon and he was supposed to write his story – the story of his life – in a similar style. The kids were all working on a shared document, so we could see what his classmates had written. As you may imagine, there was a lot of discussion of favorite sports and playing with siblings and other fourth grade interests. On the first line, Austin had written a bit about being from “mom and dad,” but he…

  • 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…