• Son of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale draws on porch in Colombia
    New Perspectives

    The Power of Yet

    The thing about moving to another country is that everything seems hard – going to the grocery store, trying to talk to the guy in the elevator, paying for something in cash – and it’s doubly hard with kids in tow. We’ve been in Colombia for about a month now, and while some things have gotten easier, every single day I’m pretty exhausted by the time dinner rolls around. Of course, I have plenty to be grateful for, but also…it’s just a lot. Take school. The kids are going to a bilingual school, so many of the parents speak English, and yet the text threads that I’m on for each…

  • Pile of trash similar to that visited by DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    Missing Shawn

    Flatwood Willie

    The thing about being way out in the country is that there’s no trash pickup. It makes you acutely aware of exactly how much garbage you produce, especially when you have to frequently pack it all up in your car and then drive to dispose of it. So on our recent trip out to rural Virginia, I found myself headed to the dump. I didn’t really know where it was, so I kept slowing down on the highway. People behind me must have been irritated, but no one honked. As I pulled into the dump, a man greeted me. “I saw you headed here,” he said, “and you kept slowing…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley hugs daughter Claire in church

    “Are You Going To Die?”

    “Are you going to die?” Claire asked me.  Her voice was strained.  She sat next to me on the couch and gripped me like she was three years old. “What?  Of course not!” I said.  “I’m going to visit Aunt Lindsay and Uncle Sean and their new baby.  Babies can’t hurt anyone!” “I mean on the plane,” she said.  “Are you going to die on the plane?” “No,” I said, emphatically.  “Planes are really safe.  They are safer than cars, actually.  I’ll be fine.” She did not look convinced, and kept clutching me.  She probably asked me a half-dozen more times if I was going to die.  Each time I…

  • Children of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley build a sandcastle on the beach
    Family & Friends


    Getting lost in a foreign country is never a good idea. It happened to me all the time before I started traveling with Shawn. I’d be somewhere by myself, in a country where I didn’t speak the language, and I’d realize that I was lost. I always managed to find my way home, though sometimes this meant that I lost a whole day of traveling or, worse, made some dubious decisions like getting in cars with strangers. But once I met Shawn we never got lost. On our first big trip we went to Vietnam (which wasn’t actually that far, as we were living in Japan) and there was a…

  • DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley and her three children in front of the Trevi fountain in Rome

    Team Brimley

    I really never thought I’d do a guided tour anywhere. Especially Italy. I remember being a student here, watching the crowds of tourists following a guide with a little flag and thinking, “what lemmings. I’ll never be like that.” Well. 3 kids later, with no partner of my own, the tour started to look really nice. And lucky for me, I had someone who helped get me to Italy with the kiddos. “The trip of a lifetime!” I said a million times to my family and friends back home. I meant it. (I’m not sure I would have ventured so far from home without some serious encouragement from my generous…

  • Children of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley look out over Rome Italy

    Brave or Stupid

    I noticed the woman behind me gazing at my kids.  Her own children, probably college kids, stood next to her, immersed in their own worlds.  She caught Claire’s eye.  “Are you excited to go to Rome?” she asked. “Yes!” Claire said.  “My mom says it’s going to take 9 hours to get there.  And when we get there it will be morning!” The woman beamed at Claire.  I’m sure she was remembering what it was like to travel with her kids when they were younger. We chatted for a bit.  She was from Tennessee.  I told her my kids were pretty good travelers, but this was still a big trip…