**This post is not sponsored by Strider, it is personal opinion shared because of our experience and sincere thanks to a company that isn't just looking for business but to better our world--thank you to Strider for our Sweet Super Seraphina's bike.***
|Delight in the journey, follow your path, never give up.|
Our bikes hung on the wall for years, collecting dust and while our other children spun around the neighborhood chasing childhood dreams, our little love tried her best to keep up. We were long past the wagon behind the bike but not able to go out as a family around the block and the once gigantic Bob Stroller now struggled to house our sweet growing girl.
That was until Strider Bikes walked into our lives. This year, we took a leap of faith and signed up for Special Olympics New Jersey. Truth be told, I had before but chickened out. When the packet came with maps of an unfamiliar campus paired with constant tantrums, I was afraid to even consider attending what is supposed to be an amazing event but this year, I chose to try again.
|Seraphina takes the field long before anyone is ready for her.|
Once we arrived, it didn't seem like this year would be much different but I promised myself I would keep an open mind and with four kids in tow and a family support guide, it couldn't be that bad, could it?
We started the day bright and early and as people arrived it was obvious to us that Seraphina wasn't so sure that she wanted to stay and while I watched kiddos standing, listening, understanding, I witnessed my own little one bounce from activity to activity.
|She gets by with a little help from her friends.|
She didn't seem capable of what was traditionally expected but one thing I learned about SONJ was that they too, like us, expect the unexpected. It truly panned out for us here as well, when the once disinterested kiddo who learned to hate bubbles chose the bubble station as her "go to" spot. She basked in the glory of the bubble machine and it was amazing to watch her rekindle her once beloved past time of chasing bubbles and popping them. Our entire family sat back, relaxed and watched her begin to enjoy the experience of Special Olympics. The bubbles were one thing but none of us were prepared for the shock of a lifetime when we all witnessed what would come next.
|Strider Bikes sponsored events at SONJ|
After a few failed attempts to follow directions and find the right fit for our girl, outside the bubbles, we witnessed magic, a magic that continues at home, today. Our sweet girl zeroed in on bikes. While at first glance I didn't see what she was after we all made a B-Line hot on her trail. She threw on her bike helmet, and was off. I broke rules, chasing her inside the roped off corral and she found the place she needed to be the entire time. Strider Bikes.
|She would have stayed on the course ALL DAY|
If you have yet to see a Strider Bike, its time to acquaint yourself because these bikes aren't just for kiddos with extra needs, in fact I would find these bikes to be a great alternative to traditional training wheel bikes and with the new transition pedal kit, your child can advance as they grow and learn to balance.
After a few laps around the course, we were able to corral our sweet girl and take a break for lunch before the traditional Special Olympics races, and we decided it was apparent our girl would want to do the bike race too, and so as we lined up, we hoped that she would find personal success.
|Finally Willing to Park...we think.|
With tears in my eyes, I realized how silly I once was to be disappointed over typical recreational game races and how I put too much into things that may never matter and realized that sometimes we typical parents don't begin to understand the value of seeing our children struggle and find success. That hot afternoon, our girl sped off as the race began and we all laughed when one of the volunteers had to chase her down the track as she eagerly raced pass the finish line.
|Family is EVERYTHING|
Special Olympics turned out to be a great day, but then, we had the opportunity to talk to the Strider Family and learn about their mission to support kids like my own. I realized that sometimes we are given opportunities to grow within ourselves and that weekend, our family did, not just in experience but in number as many of the Special Olympics employees and volunteers became "friends".
Later that week, a package arrived for our sweet hot pink loving gal, her own Strider bike with transitional pedal set so she too could follow her siblings and race around childhood. I won't lie, its been a slow go. She tires more easily and sometimes needs more help than my other children did but now, when my kids go out to ride, she can too and although our bikes are still hanging, collecting dust on the wall, I have renewed hope that one day our family can bike, together, as the family I envisioned long ago.
There is no doubt in my mind that Strider isn't just creating bikes for business, they are creating them for success and celebration of personal success has new meaning for myself and my family and of course Super Seraphina.