Alia Bailey — A fighter for all of us

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I was there.

I saw the wreckage with my own two eyes.

Air-bags deployed from all sides.

Fuel emitted onto the roadway. Flowing like lava until a solution was applied to soak it up.

Eventually, a tow-truck arrived to take the damaged vehicle away.

A SUV with all windows broken – like someone’s heart. Smashed. Destroyed. Gone.

Off to the southeast side of the intersection sat a red truck. I didn’t even know it was involved in the wreck until later on in the day. To me, it looked like it belonged there. Maybe to a rescue unit? I wasn’t sure.

But that red truck destroyed a life. Or rather, the driver of the truck destroyed a family.

A mom and a daughter were on their way to eat a late lunch at Long John Silvers. For all we know, their day had been perfect up until 2 p.m. on Jan. 22.

Maybe they went to church. Maybe they didn’t.

Maybe they slept in late and cuddled underneath the covers.

Maybe they just wanted “mom and daughter time.”

Regardless of the situation, they will never have “mom and daughter time” again.

Today, at 6:34 p.m., 6-year-old Alia Bailey died. Her mother, Nancy Burnett is still recovering from major surgery. Her father, Juan Bailey is doing all he can to hold it together.

Today is also my birthday.

My friends wanted me to go out. I thought about it, but then, I changed my mind.

Something inside of me was telling me “No, don’t go.”

So for once, I listened to the voice.

Instead, I stayed home. We ate Burger King for dinner; my husband and I drank wine; and I opened my awesome gifts – a water container and fluffy socks from the kids and two pairs of shoes from Seth. I didn’t need anything.

After we ate, the five of us sat around the kitchen table playing “The Bean Boozled Challenge.” To sum it up, we ate gross Jelly-Belly Beans. Rotten egg; spoiled milk; stinky socks; and dog food. It was gross. We had a blast. After that, the kids shared cupcakes and later on, cheesecake.

It was perfect – plus, we watched The Alaskan Bush People – who doesn’t love Noah, Gabe, Matt, Bird and the rest of the Brown Gang.

I know it wasn’t the perfect way to celebrate my 39th birthday, but for me, it was perfect. We were all under one roof. And that is something the driver of the red truck took away from the Bailey-Burnett family forever. There will be no more birthdays, no more Christmases and no more Halloweens for little Alia. Her family on Earth is left to mourn her, and remember the girl who loved the Cleveland Cavs.

If Alia could do anything, it would be to never have another child go through what she went through for the past five days. Now, the family has set up a benefit in her memory.

For more information on the event, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/3a5d5sg.

For you Alia, I send all of my birthday wishes to you sweet girl.

 

 

 

Middle school sports – a tough road

“Oh, put me in, Coach – I’m ready to play today;
Put me in, Coach – I’m ready to play today …”

Today’s youth take it all in. Wherever they go, whatever they do, they understand what is happening in the world around them. Don’t think for a second they are oblivious.

And, for those of us who are parents to middle school-aged children, we have our work cut out for us.

We tell our children to be patient, kind and understanding. We tell them to do their best, never give up and shake off the negativity that comes over them like a dark cloud on a sunny day.

But what happens when what we tell them as parents isn’t what is presented to them in school or in extra-curricular activities?

Do we intervene and pull teachers/coaches aside, expressing our concerns in private? Do we demand that our children be “put on a team” because it’s “unfair” that he/she tried their best for two years in a row, but in the end, didn’t make the cut? Do we tell our children to speak up for themselves knowing they may not want to hear the truth?

Being a parent of a student athlete is tough.

We encourage our children to “go out for the team” and cringe if they are cut, knowing we will have to put a band-aid on their emotions. But, what if they aren’t cut, but instead make the team to only “suit up” and never play?

Which is worse?

At the middle school level, it’s the experience of being on a team that is the life lesson. No one cares how many wins or loses a team had – because no one is being scouted or recruited by colleges or pro-sports teams.

My dad coached basketball for 25 years. He allowed every player “play time.” And, when his team was ahead, instead of running up the score, he allowed for his “second string” to hit the court. It was his way of allowing them to show him what they had learned at practice.

It isn’t like that anymore.

Middle school students are still trying to figure out where they belong, but when coaches, who should otherwise be role models, cater to only a select few, what is that accomplishing?

Nothing. It accomplishes nothing except creating a mindset that that player is unworthy.

And those select few players will never forget that feeling. And parents are left picking up the pieces.

 

 

 

Finding balance in fitness

Finding balance in fitness

Let me preface this blog with this statement: I’ve never been an athlete – unless you consider marching while carrying a saxophone “athletic.” So please, do not think for one minute that I am a “balls-to-the-wall-fitness-chick.” I am the farthest thing from it. But I do like working out.

But it wasn’t always that way.

Growing up, if the sport had a “ball” of any kind – basketball, volleyball or softball – you can bet I was opting out. Lacking coordination and gumption, the idea of having balls fly in the air around my head scared me.

Cross country and track were never options because those required running. The only time I ran as a young girl or teenager was after the ice cream truck in my neighborhood.

What was a “good time” was swimming and dance (As in the kind where my parents paid an arm and a leg for me to learn how to use “jazz hands” while making “jazz squares” in overly-priced costumes that I loved!).

Eventually, I grew up – maybe.

But as we age, our bodies change and the way we worked out in our 20s and 30s doesn’t help – at least not for me. Cardio used to be “my go-to” form of workout. Raise the heart-rate and burn calories.

And it worked.

Until it didn’t.

My metabolism isn’t what it used to be. I have to pay attention to every single piece of food or drink that goes into my body.

It sucks.

The days of eating bread, pasta and any other “bad” carbs are gone. Those items are reserved for “special cheat days.” And I love pasta!! Who doesn’t?

The days of eating processed food are gone. I barely even go into my pantry any more unless it’s to get my kids something for a snack. The less I go in there, the less processed food will magically find my mouth.

It’s just better for everyone if they get their own damn snack now.

So, now not only do I just stare inside my refrigerator for endless minutes at a time trying to decide which fruit or vegetable to eat, but I am working out differently too.

Inside the LaGrange Yoga Studio is a fierce-force-of-nature. Most days by the end of planking, squatting, push-up-ing, burpeeing and whatever else this force of nature throws at us, I just want to cry or melt into the floor. Sometimes both. Sweat pools in places it shouldn’t; and it also drips off of my body like rain drops falling from the sky, splatting on the floor beneath me.

But, this fierce-force-of-nature is the best motivator I have ever met since moving out to BFE. Julie is kind, compassionate and doesn’t judge. She inspires and keeps it real.

I know making the decision to work out is a tough one.

I know that saying you will exercise is easier than actually driving to a fitness center to workout. And, some schedules allow for people to only work out in the early mornings while others are only able to work out at night. Plus, adding in family time — exercising gets pushed to the back burner until eventually, it’s off the stovetop all together.

And yes, I know that it costs money to workout when so many people have treadmills or exercise videos at home. I give you credit, lots of it, if you workout at home. I literally work from home, and somehow I have taught my brain to shut off “mom/wife brain” for several hours a day while I write. However, I cannot shut that part of my brain off long enough to workout. My brain wanders into the far corners of my basement where clothes need sorted and toys need to be tossed into a bin to go to Goodwill. The kittens walk all over my yoga mat and then nip at my legs while I am crunching The phone rings. You name it – I am doing everything BUT working out.

So, yes, for me, paying a fee to workout is my motivation. I split my time between MetaFit classes; simple fitness classes; “Fit and Fab 50” classes; and today, I even stuck around for a Silver Sneakers class. (Don’t let the name fool you – those ladies are anything but “silver …”)

It’s not cheap, but really … what’s your life worth to you?

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