• 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…

  • Family of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley on bikes
    Family & Friends

    That’s a Special Feeling

    The post below was written by my daughter, Claire, for her 6th grade language arts class. The assignment was to write about a “defining moment” from the last 6 months. I loved it so much that I asked her to put it on my blog, and she gracefully said “yes.” It is the original assignment, unedited by me. ——– When my dad died I felt confused like my family and I would never feel happy again. I look back to that day 2 ½ years ago and realize that I have moved on with my life, which is a good thing. For a long time it was just my mom…

  • Wall of photos in home of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    New Perspectives

    I’m Not a Polygamist*

    Every year since Shawn died, I’ve hosted the “parent parties” for my kids’ classes. Basically, they are parties where the parents of the kids in a specific class gather to meet each other as well as the teacher of the class (the kids don’t come.) They are fun nights that involve very little preparation and only a few hours of clean-up, so I like to do them as a way to show that I’m an involved parent. I also like to do them because then I don’t have to answer the question all year long about where my husband is. Sure, I usually have a few awkward conversations during the…

  • Room of child of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    What Not to Say

    Teachers, We Hear You

    My kids’ online lessons started a week before I began teaching, as we are in different school systems. So I had an entire week to observe their teachers without the distraction of my own students. What I realized was this: parents are listening to everything. As a teacher myself, I don’t fault their teachers for a lot of the mistakes they make because I know I make them myself. (I also didn’t properly set up my breakout rooms and wasted all sorts of class time on the first day. I feel for you, 6th grade teacher!) I can’t imagine trying to teach any children younger than seven and actually keeping…

  • Drawing of family by son of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley

    Relationship to Student

    The thing about the start of school is that it’s filled with a million “get to know you” questionnaires and projects. What’s your favorite color? Do you prefer to do math or read a book? What TV shows do you watch? Who is in your family? Oh, yes, there’s always that last one. It’s an important one, and as a teacher, I don’t shy away from it either. It’s vital to understanding more about the student in front of you. And yet, I now know what a bomb it can feel like to answer that question, especially if all of the other kids are making posters with a mom, a…

  • Computer and glasses on table like that of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Things That Suck

    How Am I Actually Going to Do This?

    I keep getting emails from my school (and the kids’ schools and my other educator friends) about the importance of engagement in distance learning and doing better with emotional connections with students and all of the technological advances I need to know about for my classes. It’s all important. I believe in it all, I do. And I am totally overwhelmed by it. I know that most of my teacher friends are overwhelmed. I know that most parents are overwhelmed. I know that working parents are even more stressed and I know that single parents have it the worst. I know that my situation is not unique, and I know…