• Claire Brimley hugging her mom, widow Marjorie Brimley
    Family & Friends

    You’re Not Bothering Me

    “I don’t want to bother you….” starts the email.  It’s nothing new.  I get an email or a text or something like this at least a couple of times a day.  At first, when Shawn was sick and then immediately after he died, I couldn’t really process anything.  I read the emails and then never responded and I figured people understood.  If I’m being honest, I didn’t even care.  I appreciated the outreach in the immediate aftermath, but (and I’m sorry here for everyone who helped me) I honestly can’t really remember who did what.  I was in such a fog. I’m not totally out of that fog yet, but…

  • Brimley family gardening with single mom Marjorie

    It’s Just Me

    “Mom, where is my purple headband?” Claire yelled at me. “I asked you to put it in my drawer last night and it’s not here!” “Claire,” I answered, “I don’t know. I can’t deal with that right now.” It was 7:30 in the morning and I had three kids to get up and dressed and out of the house. I’m pretty sure I don’t need to describe the scene that lay before me, but it was filled with dirty dishes on the counter and pull-ups that needed changing and papers strewn everywhere. “Mom!” Claire continued to whine, “this is important!” “Claire,” I said sternly, “it’s not important that I find…

  • Claire Brimley near river in Washington DC

    So Proud

    The end of the school year is really a crazy time for parents.  In the last week and a half of school, Claire and Austin have a combined seven school events.  All of them, of course, are during the middle of the day, which makes things really difficult for working parents.  Particularly single working parents. On the way to school on Friday, Claire asked me whether I was coming to the end-of-year party.  “No,” I told her, “But I’m coming on the all-day zoo field trip the day before, so don’t worry!” “But everyone else’s parents are coming to the party!” she whined. Let’s be clear here – everyone else’s parents are…

  • Claire and Marjorie Brimley hugging in DC alley
    Missing Shawn

    Do You Know What Makes Me Nervous?

    How the hell am I going to do this? No really, how the hell am I going to raise three young kids without Shawn? There’s literally a decade left before I send the first one to college, and I really don’t know what I’m doing right now, much less how I’m going to figure it out in the future. Some days, it just feels damn near impossible to know how to parent alone. Take tonight. I took the kids out with friends for a fun kid-themed dinner at a Japanese steakhouse. There was entertainment and the kids were all so excited. But I couldn’t even get through the appetizer before…

  • Grandpa Tom Clark reads a book to Tommy Brimley
    Family & Friends

    Grandpa Tom

    It’s crazy that I’ve written dozens of blog posts, but have yet to write one solely on my father.  I think the reason is that every time I sit down to write it, I think, “I can’t possibly capture my dad in one blog post!”  Which of course is true.  But since he left on Monday to return to Oregon for the summer, I feel compelled to at least try and capture a bit of what makes him so wonderful. For anyone who knows him, you know that my dad loves just a few things in life: family, golf and Texas football.  He retired a few years ago with the…

  • Brimley 90s party picture with cheer uniforms

    90s Party

    When Claire was in kindergarten, Shawn and I teamed up with two other couples to throw a party to benefit our kids’ elementary school. Since that first time, the now-infamous 90s party has happened every spring at our house. This year would be no different, and part of that was because of Shawn. When he was in the hospital, I remember telling him that we’d do things to protect his immunity during the chemo treatments, including cancelling the 90s party. “What?” he’d said, horrified, when I brought it up. “You can’t cancel it!” So we decided we’d throw the party anyway, and figure out a venue later, if Shawn was still…