Iowa or Bust

Seth and I drove to Iowa City this week to celebrate with my little brother who just earned his PhD (in biophysics).

He was pretty excited.

He and his team’s research over the past several years has literally changed the way clinicians test for genetic hearing loss. Pretty incredible and hard to believe he was running around in diapers (last I checked).

But now, he’s all grown up and busy changing the world. They are even writing about him in Japan.

Seth had fun, enjoying the scenery.

Including a trash can across the street. It caught his eye, then he–quite dramatically–dashed off to take a picture.

Watch the girl behind him. She’s fascinated.

And still fascinated.

Still looking.

I mean – seriously – what happened to that trash can? And then, finally,

she moves on with her day. But Seth does not.

When I asked him “why a close up of the trash can?” He says,”So, I can make a meme!”

“Oh, of course, a meme.” For those of you who may be living in the Internet Dark Ages, a meme is a photograph with an added caption shared around the Internet. Apparently there is a series of memes making cracks at items, animals or people who appear to be intoxicated.

A few hours later–this surfaced on his Instagram account:

My two sisters, Alyssa and Anna, also made the trek to balmy Iowa City.

(Did I mention it’s so cold there they put sweaters on their trees?)

Alyssa hid from my camera the entire time. I can’t blame her. I’m like the paparazzi. But Anna did not.

Fortunately, for the rest of you, because you get to see a beautiful girl on the Internet.


Seth (almost) got a picture of both of us together (my eyes are shut), but he tried his best.

After we had a victory PhD dinner for my brother, we turned around the next morning and drove all the way back to Ohio. But, first we dropped Anna off so she could catch a train to Chicago.

She had to wait two hours for her train, but we left her–in a hurry to get home and back to the kids.

On the car ride home I started reading The Way of Boys. A fantastic book my single mama friend Elizabeth recommended. The author, a behavioral therapist, challenges society’s recent jump to medicate boys if they step out of line at school and at home. Instead, he says behavioral coaching can typically turn around ADHD symptoms in most boys and that most are medicated too early, before other options have been exhausted.

We have experienced this now on several occasions. Therapists actually diagnose Benjamin without even having a conversation with him. It’s crazy!

I am not opposed to ADHD medication, but I am not okay with doing it before we have exhausted all other options (namely, allowing him to mature at his own pace without forcing him to fit into a system designed for girls). We have also found that his relationship with his step-brother, an older boy in his father’s home, has aggravated his behavior. All kinds of fun stuff to deal with over here. But, I can’t imagine doing it without Seth and the kids.

We’re all in it together. That and also knowing my family is there to call, to reach out to, makes a world of a difference.




The sky crossing the Mississippi River.


8 Responses to Iowa or Bust
  1. Amy Reply

    All the best with your son and his treatment, you will know what is best for Benjamin. Going through similar with my 19 year old son. The opinions I have gotten from others sometimes helpful, sometimes not.

    We know our sons best and will do what we think best, regardless of what others think. All the best to you all.

    • alaina Reply

      Thank you so much. ANd yes, they are helpful – others are not. But all in all, I am just grateful to have this community for support no matter what comes of it.

  2. faustian1981 Reply

    Aww… you were so close! Congratulations to your brother!

    • alaina Reply

      Next time we will plan ahead of time and have a meet up!

  3. Mel B Reply

    I’m from IL….and that looks like the train station in Galesburg, IL. You were right in my backyard. I grew up in the Quad Cities (Moline, IL side of the Mississippi) and I used to volunteer at the Iowa City Hospital. Hope you have a fun trip!

    • alaina Reply

      Yes! Exactly where we were. What a cute, little town.

  4. rachael green Reply

    ummm. is your brother single?!?!

    • alaina Reply

      No! He’s totally married. And we love her. ; ) Sorry!

Leave a Reply