• Cups like those in kitchen of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley

    Put Your Dishes in the Dishwasher

    I have a sign in my kitchen with our three house rules. They are rules that I borrowed from my aunt Nancy (aka “Nana”), ones that all of the grandkids know they must follow when they are at her house: Put your dishes in the dishwasher No crying unless there’s blood If you want something, get it yourself I mean, these are pretty solid rules. Clean up your own stuff. Don’t whine about things that aren’t a big deal. Try and solve your own problems. Sure, maybe there could be one about behaving compassionately, but I guess Nana assumed good intent towards others. Or maybe there could be one about…

  • Students throw caps in air during graduation like that during speech by DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley

    Congrats, Graduates of 2020

    Welcome families, friends, teachers, and graduates.  To the class of 2020: thank you for inviting me to speak.  I’m so lucky to be here. Wait – actually, that was the start of last year’s speech, the one where you picked me to be your faculty speaker. This year, you didn’t pick me, but you didn’t pick anyone else either, since the graduation ceremony itself has been pushed back. We can’t even say for certain that it will happen this year. For the first time in many years, I will not watch a group of seniors – kids I’ve loved throughout their high school careers – walk across the graduation stage…

  • Kindergarten classroom similar to that of son of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley

    How Does This Actually Work?

    I re-read the headline three times before I could really process it. “DC students could be in classrooms just 1 or 2 days per week this fall.” I knew this could be coming. I mean, of course there has to be a plan for alternative schooling for next school year. But, um, how does this actually work? Here’s the thing: under this possible plan, DC public school kids would only go to school a few days a week but would continue to learn online the other days. And if I’m following this logic right, that means that teachers would teach in the classroom five days a week and also teach…

  • Son of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley holding on to rope swing in backyard

    How Widowed Parenting Prepared Me for Coronavirus Parenting

    I looked over at Tommy as he ate breakfast yesterday and realized that he looked just like an advertisement for bad parenting. He was shirtless, watching a Captain Underpants movie on an iPad and eating Eggo waffles that he was liberally dipping in syrup. He wasn’t even using a fork. I thought about taking a photo of him and texting a few friends with the headline, “mother of the year!” Of course, that text would have been seeping in irony. No way have I been mother of the year at any point during this pandemic. My kids have eaten more sugar than ever and they are in front of screens…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley with son Tommy looks away from camera
    Family & Friends

    I’ll Be Paying People Back for Carpool When I’m 80

    I was at a party a few months ago, and someone asked me how I was doing. I told her that I was okay, managing life day-by-day, and learning how to ask for a lot of help. “The thing about asking for help,” I said, “is that I have to ask people to do things for me knowing that I’ll never pay them back.” “Of course you do,” the woman said back. “It’s different, of course, but when I was working in government, I needed a lot of help with my kids. It’s been years, but I always say that I’ll be paying people back for carpool when I’m 80.”…

  • Door of classroom like that of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    New Perspectives

    Just in Case

    About 15 minutes before the end of my last class of the day, an email was sent out. I saw it pop up on my computer, and I knew: our school was closing too. The students didn’t know yet – they were engaged in a discussion about how the government should best address the outbreak of covid-19 – but I knew that quickly they would know from other students passing by the classroom. “I have to end this early,” I said to them. “We just got word that our school is going to close tomorrow, and I want to make sure I have time to say a few things to…