• Shawn Brimley's family at the CNAS portrait dedication in DC

    Bill Brimley’s Speech at CNAS in Honor of His Son, Shawn

    Below is a transcript of the speech Bill Brimley, Shawn’s father, gave to CNAS on October 29, 2018. Thank-you Richard, Michele and Kurt, and thank-you everyone for being here this evening to celebrate and honor the life and accomplishments of our son Shawn. Ever since Shawn passed away in January, many people have asked Shawn’s mother Sheryll and I – how he did it. How did he accomplish so many things – how did he achieve so much success, at such a young age? You all know more about Shawn and his career in Washington than we do. His work in the pentagon, the White House, and here at CNAS.…

  • Marjorie Brimley getting interviewed during the Women's March in DC
    New Perspectives

    Smash the Patriarchy

    I was listening to music the other day, and the song “Cowboy Take Me Away” by the Dixie Chicks came on. I haven’t heard it for over a decade, but it still evokes emotions from the time period when I was first away from home. I was in college, surrounded by a million friends, and yet I was newly motherless and had the unsettled feeling that the future was unknowable. In many ways, I felt like I do today. Of course, the circumstances are totally different now, but many days I feel lost in a similar way that I did almost 20 years ago. When I heard the song again,…

  • Marjorie Brimley's daughter Claire does homework in their kitchen in DC
    Family & Friends

    Field Trips, Open Houses and Other Events I Can’t Attend Anymore

    The other day I was sorting through the kids’ paperwork after school and came across a permission slip for a field trip for Claire. I signed it, and then was putting it on my calendar when Claire came over to me. I asked her about what she thought she was going to do on the field trip, and she told me. Then she turned and looked at me with hopeful eyes and asked, “Can you chaperone my field trip, mama?” I sighed. There was no way I could take off. “I can’t, baby,” I said. I tried to keep my voice even. “I have to work full time now and…

  • Shawn Brimley's widow Marjorie accepts plaque with her children at DC think tank
    New Perspectives

    Shawn’s Wife

    Last week, I went downtown and spoke at an event in Shawn’s honor. It was a beautiful and deeply important night, and I was so glad that my entire family could be there. Over a hundred other people showed up as well. Those in attendance talked to me about Shawn’s life, our children and how much he had meant to each of them. It was perfect, but it was also difficult. It was difficult because I was reminded yet again that he’s no longer in this world. But when I reflected on it a few days later, I realized it was difficult for another reason as well: I am no…

  • Shawn Brimley's guitar with sticker saying Kick Out the GOP
    Missing Shawn

    What Would Shawn Do? (Election Day 2018)

    Two years ago, Shawn put a sticker on his guitar that read, “kick out the GOP 2018.” Shawn was a Democrat, and after working at the Department of Defense and the White House for President Obama, he was hopeful for another Democratic win in 2016. It didn’t happen. Shawn was frustrated, yes, and like many Democrats he had strong opinions about the direction the country headed throughout 2017. He wrote articles and went on TV and radio to argue his point of view. He felt frustrated by much of the tenor of politics throughout the last year of his life. But Shawn also loved being an American, and he believed…

  • Shawn and Marjorie Brimley lighting candles for birthday party in DC backyard
    What Not to Say

    Why I Might Have to Stop Reading “Mommy Blogs”

    I’ve always loved “mommy blogs.” These blogs, where writers discuss the (sometimes hilarious) ups and downs of being a mom, often validate how I feel – overworked, under-appreciated, and just really, really tired. When my kids were babies, mommy blogs were what kept me at my paid job when I thought I might quit. The things I read made me realize that most other moms felt like I did and that we were all just doing the best that we could. But God, I can’t read half of them anymore. I just finished an article about a working mom in which the author discusses how she does so much more…