So. This is my daughter, Xiomara, in her first modeling gig for Princess Awesome, wearing their "Groundbreaker" Construction Trucks dress.
I love everything about this. Everything.
I love that there's a little girl with a tracheostomy in an advertisement for kids' clothing.
I love that a new audience is now seeing a kid with a trach, because before Xiomara, I had never seen a kid with a trach.
I love that the ad is not about a trach. It's just a kid, in a pretty dress, who happens to have a trach.
I love that there is a parent with a trached kid in the NICU somewhere right now who might see this, and pause, and hopefully then see their kid as a kid full of potential, and not as a long list of medical diagnoses.
I love that this image of the trach is not scary and medical, like it often is.
I love that Xiomara's pulse ox machine is just hanging out in the background. I know that a great majority of people have no idea what that is, but I am so excited for my fellow medical parents to see it and exclaim "WE HAVE THE SAME PULSE OX!"
I love that there is an Asian kid in an ad for kids' clothing, because I never saw someone who looked like me in ads when I was growing up.
I love that Xiomara is playing with a toy truck, because she actually does love playing with trucks. And she is just as excited about diggers as her big brother.
I love that this dress is blue, because I think blue is a great color for girls and there's never enough blue in the girls' section.
I love that this dress has pockets, because dresses with pockets are the best thing ever.
I love that she's playing with dinosaurs in another ad and sitting between friends. Oh, and yes, she is connected to her ventilator for additional breathing support.
I love all of these things so darn much.
I love that Princess Awesome knows that and supports that.
I love that Princess Awesome is founded and run by two amazing moms, Rebecca Melsky and Eva St. Clair, who want a more inclusive world for our children.
I love that Princess Awesome collaborates with and hires women-owned and women-run businesses to carry out their mission. From the textile designer to the factory, from consultants and support services to the photographer, the talents of women are sought and valued.
I love that Princess Awesome uses a warehouse and shipping facility that employs people with disabilities.
I love looking at this picture, and most of all, I love how hopeful it makes me feel about the future. Yes, it's an ad for a pretty dress, but it's also so much more than that.
This week is Global Tracheostomy Tube Awareness Week. A tracheostomy tube is a plastic breathing tube that is placed in a surgically-created hole in the trachea (windpipe) to allow for safe breathing by bypassing the mouth and nose. It is a life-saving device that may be required for many different medical issues. Awareness Week was founded by Tonya Treadway Boyd, a mom of a child with a trach, who wanted her daughter to understand that she was just like everyone else.
Elena Hung is the president and co-founder of Little Lobbyists, a parent-led organization advocating for children with complex medical needs. You can follow her on Twitter @ElenaHung202.