• Austin gets his cut glued shut by friend of DC widow

    The Scar

    Claire has been to the emergency room exactly one time, when she ate a pistachio nut and had an allergic reaction that had to be treated with epinephrine.  My boys, however, have been at least a dozen times between them.  They’ve received stitches and slings and warnings from doctors to never again do whatever it was they were doing.  It’s a stereotype to be sure, but damn if my boys don’t go to the ER much more than my girl. I managed to make it through six months without anyone getting hurt.  But of course it was Austin who broke that streak last Friday night. After Shawn died, this was actually…

  • Shawn Brimley with Austin Brimley looking at the sky outside of DC

    What If the Plane Crashes?

    I’ve taken my kids on airplanes since the very early days of their lives. Claire was only six weeks old the first time she rode on a plane, and I remember boarding the flight with Shawn and about fifteen bags to guarantee we had everything. As I sat down, the man in front of me turned around and said, “that baby better not scream for the entire flight.” Claire was six weeks old. Through some miracle, she slept through the entire flight and I smugly de-boarded the plane afterwards. Shawn was livid at the rude man, but I felt victorious. I must have been doing everything right if my baby…

  • Austin Brimley eating Brussels Sprouts in DC
    Family & Friends

    Brussels Sprouts

    A few days ago, I came home from an afternoon at the pool and said “screw it” to a formal dinner.  The kids were starving and I had eggs in the refrigerator, so that’s what everyone was getting.  I also decided that we’d all get in our PJs and then eat dinner while watching Kung Fu Panda. Obviously, there’s a lot of “winging it” going on now that school’s out. In any case, I sent Claire and Tommy up to take baths, and Austin begged to go over to see the next-door neighbor.  I relented.  He’d taken a shower (I think?) at the pool, or at least he told me…

  • Austin Brimley Mother's Day card

    Mother’s Day

    On Friday, Austin came home from first grade and announced he had made a card for me.  He handed it over and I told him I’d put it away to open on Sunday.  But the front of it was hilariously cute.  On it, he’d written, “Happy!!! Mothers!!! Day!!! Mom!!!!” and drawn a stick-figure likeness of me and him.  I couldn’t wait to open it. That night, we had to go to the elementary school picnic.  Of course, it was scheduled at the same time as the preschool picnic which was across the street.  This seems to happen every year and was never an easy situation even when Shawn was alive. …

  • Austin Brimley playing at the river in Rock Creek Park
    Family & Friends

    The Little Hand on My Back

    My middle child, Austin, is not the extrovert like his older sister and younger brother.  Though he doesn’t hide from a crowd, he’s most happy at home, reading books, riding his bike in the alley, and cuddling in our big chair with me. He’s always been this way.  Shawn and I spent a painful year watching Austin scream and cry every single day when we’d leave him at the preschool doors.  The next year was less dramatic, but he still shed many tears.  Finally in kindergarten he could walk into the classroom without crying, but he would still turn around the entire time and watch us, running into his classmates…