• DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley walks with family
    Family & Friends

    Austin’s Hero

    Two years ago at the start of 4th grade, Claire had to identify her “hero” and write a short blurb about that person. She chose to write about me, and I wrote a blog post about how touching it was to have her do that. So when Austin finished his first day of school last Monday, I already knew what his first assignment was going to be. He needed my help, because everything is digital now. I asked him who he was going to pick as his hero. “Grandpa Tom,” he said, as though it was the most obvious thing in the world. I asked him why he picked Grandpa…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley helps son Tommy with shirt
    New Perspectives

    You’re Not Really a Widow Anymore

    A few days ago, Austin woke up early and came downstairs. I had been writing, but I paused to talk to him for a few minutes as he ate his cereal. We discussed what we were going to do that day, and then he wanted to know what I was doing on my computer. “I’m trying to figure out what to write for my blog,” I told him. “Do you have any ideas?” “There’s not really anything for you to write about anymore,” he said, simply. “What do you mean?” I asked. “Well, you’re not really a widow anymore,” he replied. When I gently asked him why he thought this,…

  • Son of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley looks under vanity with flashlight
    New Perspectives

    The Earring

    I heard the clink of the earring on the tile before I even realized I had dropped it. I looked down at the blank floor. “Damn!” I said (under my breath because I’m trying to swear less frequently in front of my kids). I bent down and tried to look under the bathroom vanity. Clearly, the earring had fallen down into the crack under it. I couldn’t see much, so I went into the boys’ room to get a flashlight. Austin was reading a book. “What’s wrong?” he asked. “I dropped my diamond earring somewhere in the bathroom,” I said. “I need your flashlight to try and find it.” He…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley hugs son Austin in fountain

    My Nine-Year-Old Boy

    We found out that you were a boy on Christmas Day. We had asked the ultrasound technician to put the sex of our second child in an envelope, and then we opened it together with our extended family. A boy! That night, we drove back to where we were staying. Claire was in the back seat, sleeping, and your father drove silently. “I am going to have a son,” he said, finally, breaking the silence. “I know,” I said. “I mean, we are going to have a son,” he said, correcting himself. I smiled at him. I knew what he meant. “I want to be a good father to my…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley walking with her sons

    Can I Take Out the Trash?

    (I wrote the piece below for an outside publication a few months ago. It didn’t end up running, so I’m publishing it here. Obviously, some of the details are from a time when we could interact with people outside our household.) I’ve been worrying about my boys lately. Not for any specific reason. I mean, they seem fine. They like to play outside and ride their bikes and jump on the neighbor’s trampoline. Tommy is learning to read. Austin is a whiz at math. Neither of my sons cause trouble at school and both boys have solid friendships. But there’s so much that worries me in the years ahead, especially…

  • Father of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley reaches into backpack
    Family & Friends

    An Imperfect Parent

    The thing about living in DC is that you’re going to get called for jury duty every other year, no matter what. Even if you’re dead. I have proof! The other day, I came home from school, said hello to my kids, and started opening the mail that my dad had brought inside. Right there on top was a summons for jury duty for Shawn. “Dear God, what the Hell is this?” I said, exasperated, to my dad. Without missing a beat, he replied, “I took care of it.” “What?” I said, confused. “Well, I figured you didn’t need to deal with this so I called the number on the…