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 and my two younger brothers, Austin and Tommy. That changed. This spring, someone named Chris came into our lives. He was my mom’s new boyfriend. 

I began to know Chris. My mom would call him every evening and we would talk about what was going on in our lives. I could see my mom’s face light up every time she would call him and how he would laugh about my jokes even though they were bad. He seemed nice and funny. At first my mom having a new partner made me feel unsure, because everything was happening so fast. I knew Chris a little bit but I didn’t know everything about him. I wondered if he liked us? Or if he liked to bake? Would he help us with our homework when we needed it? 

A day before Easter my mom got a call and went outside. She showed up a few minutes later and Chris was there, standing in the doorway!  

“Chris!” we all yelled, strangling him in a big hug. Wow I thought, this is big. I was so surprised, happy, scared, and anxious at the same time. Chris was now going to stay with us for a few weeks. 

After a while I got used to having Chris around. He would work upstairs every day and he made us breakfast every morning. The day after he arrived we had Easter together and did an egg hunt around our yard. Also, I remember the first time I went on a run with him and we talked a lot about what we liked doing.  

“So do you like music?” he asked.  

“Yeah! Every now and then I learn a new song on my guitar,” I said. 

“What did you like to do back in Atlanta?” I asked.  

“A lot of things, I especially loved doing cyclocross with my team.”  


Each day I spent with Chris it felt more like he was becoming a part of our family. We had known Chris and his family long before my mom was dating him. I made a friend in preschool and his mom’s brother was Chris. We were already great friends with them, but we didn’t know all of Chris’s family yet. Soon after Chris came to D.C. we got to know Chris’s parents through facetime. Their grandkids were my friends, and they called them Nana and Pop. Soon after we also started calling them that too. It was always nice when they would say hi. They lived in Maine, and they were fun and nice! Nana always asked me about my baking, and Pop would always ask me about how school was going, because he is a retired teacher. They invited us to stay with them in Maine to get to know them and see the country, which was definitely exiting. They even said they had a boat! Sometimes I felt like they were really my grandparents. 

A couple months after Chris arrived, my family finally headed up to Maine. I was excited and ready for the long car ride there. On the other hand, I was a little worried about Tommy (who gets car sick) throwing up. If he did, that would definitely not be a highlight of the trip. We made it to Maine though. 

“Nana, Pop!” We all yelled, wrapping them in a big hug. We were there, I thought, we made it! I was so happy.  

“How was the car ride here?” Pop asked.  

“It was ok,” I said. “Thankfully Tommy didn’t throw up, but New York was a little bumpy.” 

In Maine it was fun to hang out with Nana and Pop. They had a big blueberry field in front of their house. The afternoon we arrived, we all decided to head out into the field and pick blueberries for Pop’s famous blueberry pancakes and Nana’s blueberry cake. A few days later, Nana and I baked her famous blueberry cake that I had heard about from Chris. It was so good and I bet you I could’ve eaten the whole thing. We also went on their boat and went to many islands and beaches. I felt happy inside, like I really had a Nana and Pop. 

My family did things just the five of us, like when we went on a hike to the beach. Chris grew up in Maine so he wanted to show us a really beautiful hike that he used to go on when he was a kid. It was 3 miles of hiking straight up a ginormous hill. What kept me walking was thinking about the waves and the refreshing sandy beach. Tommy rode on Chris’s shoulders the entire way up there, which was hilarious and impressive. With all our stuff we had to bring it was extra hard. Everyone was exhausted, but step by step we made it! We had officially made it to the beach at Morse Mountain! I was so proud of us.  

Tommy, Austin, Chris, and I immediately jumped in the water. Chris picked up Tommy and threw him over the waves, which looked super fun. Mom was sitting by our towels waving the seagulls away and setting up a picnic for everyone. 

I always knew that my Mom and my brothers loved me, but at that moment I felt that Chris also loved me and my family just as much as I loved them. I felt like a family, and that’s a special feeling.