Family Hears Their Late Daughter's Heart Beat Inside Organ Recipient

A Florida teen’s memory lives on through a strong heartbeat. 
The family of 14-year-old Katelyn Zimmerman, who was killed by a drunk driver in March, recently met the person who received her heart, ABC 11 reported. 
In the video below, Katelyn’s family listens to her heart beating inside Albert Jeffries IV. Albert, a 14-year-old from North Carolina with dilated cardiomyopathy, was flooded with emotion.

“Thank you for the gift of being able to see more in life,” Albert, whose condition means his heart struggles to pump blood, tearfully read in a letter to Katelyn’s family during their meeting. “Thank you for being my miracle.”
Butterflies and balloons were released for the occasion, and the families exchanged gifts. Tina Turner, Albert’s mother, also shared a poem expressing her gratitude. 
For the late teen’s family, the event, especially the portion in which they heard Katelyn’s heart beat, proved comforting. 
“It put us at peace knowing that Katelyn’s heart is still beating even though it’s not in her,” her father Shawn Zimmerman said, according to Fox8. 
Reflecting on what Albert, also known as Alj, has been through because of his heart condition, Turner told ABC News that the Zimmermans’ contribution to her son meant the world. 
“Alj was near death,” Turner said of her son, who had waited 99 days for a heart. “He was on two heart drips by the end. The month Katelyn died was the year Alj was reborn.”
Now, Turner says that her family is looking to pay the kindness forward by raising awareness for organ donation, Fox8 reported. 
“We want everyone to see this unity and this selfless thing they did for our family. That’s love.”
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Grandparents Celebrate 63 Years Of Marriage With Sweet Photo Shoot

Ever since she was a kid, wedding photographer Shalyn Nelson has admired her grandparents’ long, loving and committed marriage.

So in November 2014, she did a photo shoot with her Papaw Joe Ray and Mamaw Billie Wanda to celebrate their 63rd wedding anniversary on their ranch in Jewett, Texas. 

“No marriage is perfect, and my grandparents will be the first to tell you that,” Nelson told The Huffington Post. “But they never gave up. They never let their vows down. Ever.”

Recently, Papaw’s health has been ailing; just last week the family was told he wouldn’t make it through the night. Though he’s still in the hospital, Nelson said he’s now on the mend. On Wednesday, Nelson saw that the photos from 2014 were posted on BuzzFeed ― a surprise that gave her some peace during this difficult time.
“This man means the world to me,” she wrote on Instagram. “So when I saw that BuzzFeed featured my grandparents on their blog, my heart swelled. The timing could not be more perfect.” 

For the photo shoot, Mamaw, now 83, wore two different flowy gowns, while Papaw, now 86, sported a pinstripe suit and bowtie.
“After all was said and done, Mamaw looked at me and said, ‘Well, that sure was special,’ and gave me a big hug,” Nelson said. “My Papaw brought his little point-and-shoot camera and took photos of me and my friends who helped bring the shoot to life. My mom tells me all the time how much that day meant to my grandparents. They talk about it all the time.” 

Nelson credits her grandparents with teaching her the true meaning of marriage.
“My husband constantly reminds me that we will be old and gray, like them, walking hand in hand,” she told HuffPost. “I pray for that every single day. Even now, watching my Mamaw sit by his side with his hospital visits these past few months. It just puts life and love into perspective for me even more than it did before.”

Up until she went to college, Nelson lived next door to her Mamaw and Papaw, whom she calls her “heroes” and the “the best people I know.” 
“I didn’t have much of a fatherly role in my life, but my grandparents made up for that and filled that void,” she told HuffPost. “I’ll never be able to thank them enough for it.”
This shoot was the first part of Nelson’s passion project, which spotlights long-married couples all around the world. Now she is figuring out how to fund the project; someday, she hopes to compile the love stories into a book. 
“I have received well over 150 love stories from strangers around the world,” she said. “I will be traveling to these couples, and documenting these stories, as well as photographing them on film  ― my medium of choice ― so hopefully we can figure out a way financially sooner than later.”

Below, see more photos from Joe Ray and Billie Wanda’s heartwarming shoot.

H/T Style Me Pretty via BuzzFeed — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
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Stress Is Contagious, And Kids Are Catching It At The Expense Of Their Developing Brains

The American Psychological Association’s (APA) study on stress found that nearly half of America’s kids are stressed.  This is bad news because it means unhealthy amounts of stress hormones are coursing through the developing brains of these children and that causes learning and behavior problems. The area of the brain most vulnerable to stress hormones is the prefrontal cortex. It generates intelligence, learning, and the top-down regulation for impulse control, which means that a child’s stressed brain will struggle with learning and be prone to acting out. Stress hormones also dampen the immune system causing more frequent and more intense colds and flu.


The same APA study found that 91 percent of kids say that what stresses them most is how stressed their parents have become, and that 69 percent of parents were oblivious to the impact their level of stress is having on the kids. This finding corroborates a previous study by the Families and Work Institute that found what kids want most is “stress-free parents.” In this study, interviewers asked children to make one wish for a change in their parents. Parents were then asked to guess what the children wished for, and most parents guessed it was for more quality time. It was the wrong answer. The majority of children wished for their parents to be free of stress. It turns out that kids are very good at detecting subtle cues about a parent’s stress, such as their down-turned expression, heavy footsteps, and fatigue.


Teaching school is a highly stressful occupation and now a study in Canada, the first of its kind, has found that a teacher’s stress is also impacting kids. In this study, researchers examined the connection between teacher burnout and students’ cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone and a biological indicator of stress. Researchers collected saliva samples from over 400 elementary school children and tested their cortisol levels. They found that in classrooms in which teachers experienced more stress or feelings of emotional exhaustion, students’ cortisol levels were elevated. Higher cortisol levels in elementary school children have been linked to learning difficulties as well as mental health problems.


The same APA study I cited earlier found that 83 percent of Americans are doing little or nothing to lower their stress level. These new findings should help motivate us to take stress seriously.  Stress is not something we should someday do something about.  It needs our attention now, especially parents and teachers. A child’s ability to tap their full measure of brain power depends on it.


But don’t stress. Take heart. The picture the research paints is something we can change. It’s simpler than you might imagine and results can accrue faster than you might think. It takes a commitment to understanding your pattern of stress that a painful past and genetics wired into your brain, and then learning the shift in mindset that rewires your brain to instill more joy in your work, more peace in your life, and more harmony in your relationships.

We can change our brain in ways that achieve a better day and turn each and every day into a better life. The studies that prove it are now piled high. Click here for a free starter kit that begins the process of making you, your home, and the classroom happier and more peaceful.

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Tips for Connecting With the Quiet Child

Do you notice that your child or teen seems to be keeping to herself or himself a lot more lately? Although this child has always been “close-to-the-vest” with feelings, you sense she or he needs you now, maybe more than ever, and you want to help. During his or her her youngest years, there was affection and cuddling, but now there seems to be too much distance.

Both young girls and boys can be hard to engage just when they need it the most, what can you do to help without being too intrusive?

Finding Special Moments

• One way of approaching your child or teen without broaching a problem topic, per se, is just by spending special moments. You might be emptying the dishwasher when he’s nearby, so you just do it all a lot more slowly. Instead of it being a chore, it becomes time together.

• Instead of rushing your child to the school bus, offer to drive her, so she can sleep in and then have more time with you on the ride. It’s amazing sometimes how a little more rest and unexpected time together brings on some conversation. Or, even if you both remain quiet, there is that needed time together that may open a door on the way home.

• Suggest to your child, that he skip his chores this weekend and ask him if he’d like to head out to a movie together of his choosing. This might seem unusual, mom and kid alone in a theatre. But it’s fun and relaxing and time together. Again, nothing special has to be discussed, but the special moments are there.

Making Small Talk

Sometimes the best way to talk about important things is to begin with small talk.

• Avoid, “How is school?” which is often a hot topic. Instead ask about favorite TV shows, a funny YouTube, a special singer.

• Learn what goes on in your child’s world without judgment. Just be interested and curious.

• Learn from your child. They love teaching their parents and feeling they know more than you do. (And they do when it comes to their peer culture.)

Bridging the Gap

After days and maybe weeks, of these new times together, you may recognize that your child is warming up to you more than she had. Now is the time, when nothing else is pressing, to share that you’ve been a little worried about how she is doing. Ask if there is anything that would help to talk about.

Then wait. Please wait. Don’t press. Allow silence. You may be surprised if minutes or even hours later, your child comes to you to discuss what’s been on his or her mind with no adult to guide them.

How Wonderful to Feel Like the Devoted Parent You Are

You’ve done it. You’ve engaged your quiet child or you’ve entered the teenage world where you thought you were forbidden. There has been no hustle or bustle, no upset angry moments, no feelings of intrusion. Just closeness. Precious parent-child time that will only grow more fully as time goes on.

Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. is a psychoanalyst who writes about parenting, child and teen development, mental health and Parental Intelligence. Look for her book, Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Familius and wherever books are sold. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
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Why One LA Mom Is Embracing 'Hypno-Parenting'

Lisa Machenberg says her teens are well-behaved and self-motivated, thanks to a technique she uses called “hypno-parenting.”
Machenberg is a licensed hypnotherapist in Los Angeles. “My children are able to use logic and reason,” she told ABC News. “They have a form of diligence or perseverance that you don’t see in other children.”
Machenberg’s 17-year-old daughter, Rayna, said her mom’s mind control methods have never been a secret, and they’ve had a positive effect on her own life.
“Being able to push back on stress and think about it deeply and do self-reflecting was a skill that I’m really grateful that my mom taught me,” she told ABC News. “I think it still influences me a lot today and helped me develop into the person I am right now.”

WATCH: Hypno-parenting? Is the new tool of hypnotizing your kids a good tool for parents?— Good Morning America (@GMA) July 25, 2016

Machenberg’s son, Jake, admits he hasn’t always enjoyed Mom’s mind games.
“It could get a little crazy when she tries to kind of hypnotize us at every single possible situation that she can. It could get a little overbearing ― she gets in your head,” he told Barcroft TV. “But as far as things like getting into college, I think it was an advantage. … I think it’s helped me, you know it’s helped me have control over my own mind.”
Machenberg is now charging $125 for hypno-parenting classes, but some experts are skeptical about whether it’s appropriate for kids.
ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser told Good Morning America that while hypnosis can work for shaping behavior, there isn’t enough evidence on whether it’s good for children.
“The evidence on the clinical use is really, really strong. I haven’t seen that kind of evidence for parenting and that bothers me a little bit,” said Besser, whose parents were both clinical hypnotherapists. 
Besser stressed that hypnotism should only be performed by trained professionals and suggested parents stick to other strategies such as praising good behavior, and staying consistent on discipline and expectations.  — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
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Even As A Teenager, Obama Knew People Like Trump Were Foolish

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President Barack Obama has had a hard time hiding his disdain for Donald Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, this election season.
In a remarkable speech at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, Obama questioned Trump’s ability to lead the free world, saying the candidate has spent “70 years on this earth showing no regard for working people.” Obama also emphatically stated that “homegrown demagogues” would never succeed in the United States.
Obama’s contempt for people like Trump may be rooted in the values he learned as a teenager in Hawaii. It’s hard not to think of Trump when reading Obama’s 1995 memoir, Dreams From My Father, in which he writes about the lessons he learned from older men on the basketball courts.
 Obama writes (emphasis added):

By the time I reached high school, I was playing on Punahou’s teams, and could take my game to the university courts, where a handful of black men, mostly gym rats and has-beens, would teach me an attitude that didn’t just have to do with the sport. ​That respect came from what you did and not who your daddy was. That you could talk stuff to rattle an opponent, but that you should shut the hell up if you couldn’t back it up. That you didn’t let anyone sneak up behind you to see emotions ― like hurt or fear ― you didn’t want them to see.

Trump has built an entire career and presidential campaign around claims he can’t support. He has insisted that he is fabulously wealthy, but has had an astounding number of business flops and won’t release his tax returns. He has insisted that Mexico is sending rapists to the U.S., as well as that Obama was born in Africa and is secretly a Muslim. He claims to have seen thousands of Muslims cheering as the World Trade Center fell on 9/11 ― another lie.
He insists he is a self-made man, but his father’s wealth helped him significantly.
As Trump’s popularity has risen, Obama has continued to allude to the lessons he learned on the basketball court. 
 “We can’t meet the world with a sense of entitlement,” Obama said in his commencement address at Howard University in May.
“That’s a pet peeve of mine, people who’ve been successful and don’t realize they’ve been lucky, that God may have blessed them,” he added. “It wasn’t nothing you did, so don’t have an attitude.”
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims ― 1.6 billion members of an entire religion ― from entering the U.S. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: huffingtonpost families

How To Raise Kids With An Ex Like Donald Trump

Parenting after divorce is challenging enough as it is― but it’s especially difficult if your ex acts and thinks like Donald Trump. 
By his own admission, the 70-year-old Republican presidential nominee isn’t the kind of father who changes diapers ― or volunteers to do any heavy lifting as a parent, really, besides providing financial support.
“I like kids. I mean, I won’t do anything to take care of them,” the thrice-married real estate mogul told Howard Stern in 2005, adding, “I’ll supply funds and she’ll take care of the kids.” 
His kids, too, have spoken of his hands-off style of parenting. 
In a CNN interview earlier this month, eldest daughter Ivanka Trump had this to say of her dad’s parenting efforts: “You know, he wasn’t always physically present, but he was always available.”

So how do you co-parent with someone like The Donald? As Trump’s second wife Marla Maples has suggested, you don’t. 
After her 1999 divorce, Maples left New York City and moved to Calabasas, California, with their daughter Tiffany. 
“Her daddy is a good provider with education and such, but as far as time, it was just me,” Maples, 52, told People magazine of raising Tiffany, now 22, essentially as a single parent. “Her father wasn’t able to be there with day-to-day skills as a parent. He loves his kids. There’s no doubt. But everything was a bit of a negotiation.”
“Negotiating” with a mostly absentee parent, though, is not easy, especially if your ex is as drawn to conflict as Trump. 
As a helpful guide to others struggling to co-parent with an ex who acts like Trump, we asked parenting experts to weigh in with some advice. See what they had to say below. 
1. Shrug it off when your ex tries to buy your kids’ love. 
Uninvolved parents often try to buy their kids’ affection through extravagant gifts and costly trips, said Kate Scharff, a psychotherapist and divorce mediator in Washington, D.C. That may infuriate you if you’re the primary parent and money is tight on your end, but remember: money can’t buy love. 
“Many AWOL parents try to compensate with splashy gifts, but that’s not a substitute for loving attention,” Scharff said. “Swallow your disdain, let your kids enjoy the gesture and understand that they’ll need you to be there when the excitement fades and the sadness sets in.” 
2. Remind your ex that the kids need them.

Parents like Trump tend to underestimate the importance of daily interaction with their kids. In an interview with New York magazine in December 2004, Trump admitted that “finding time” for his children was the hardest part of parenting ― though he still raved about his parenting skills. 
“I know friends who leave their business so they can spend more time with their children, and I say, ‘Gimme a break!’ My children could not love me more if I spent fifteen times more time with them,” he told the mag.
The truth is, fifteen minutes at the park or attending an after-school basketball game means everything to a kid, said Randall Kessler, a divorce attorney in Atlanta, Georgia,
“Certainly for people like Trump, working hard has provided amazing opportunities for their children, but there is no way to put a dollar value on quality time spent with your kids.” 
3. Adopt a business-like style of communicating with your ex.  

Communicating with an ex who’s prone to conflict is no easy feat: If a discussion about who’s paying for summer camp results in your ex hurling insults and belittling you, don’t allow yourself to engage, said Morghan Richardson, a divorce attorney based in Astoria, New York. 
“In the words of First Lady Michelle Obama at the Democratic National Convention, ‘when they go low, we go high,’’’ Richardson advised. “Set firm boundaries about communications and expectations. Always limit communications to text or email and then do not engage in fighting.”
When your ex tries to push your buttons, don’t take the bait. 
“Keep your responses to nasty comments on topic (for instance, say, ‘Let’s keep these texts to issues about visitation’),” she said. “Being the better person is hard but at the end of the parenting road, it will pay off.”
4. Allow other family members to step in and help raise the kids. 

According to Vanity Fair, Ivanka, Donald Trump Jr., and Eric were often cared for by their maternal grandparents before their parents decided to send them to boarding school. In an interview with New York magazine in 2004, Donald Jr. opened up about his grandfather stepping up to the plate.

“My father is a very hardworking guy, and that’s his focus in life, so I got a lot of the paternal attention that a boy wants and needs from my grandfather,” he said.
If your ex is similarly out of the picture, remind yourself that a surrogate dad or mom is better than no one, said Lisa Helfend Meyer, a divorce attorney in Los Angeles, California 
“If one or both parents are busy working, sometimes it does take a village,” she told HuffPost. “There’s value in long-term nannies or grandparents.”

5. Don’t badmouth your ex. 
Sure, it drives you up the wall when your ex prioritizes an out-of-town golf junket over their custodial weekend, but avoid making your feelings known to your kids, said Scharff.
“Being critical of your ex puts your kids in the middle (they need permission to love both of you) and suggests you’ve forgotten who really loses out in this scenario — them.”
6. Be thankful your ex is a little hands off.

If your ex is prone to name calling and creating conflict whenever they come around, their distance may be for the best, said Alison Patton, a lawyer and mediator who wrote a blog about parenting with a high-conflict ex inspired by Trump. 
“I’m not exaggerating when I say that co-parenting with a high-conflict or narcisstic ex can be a living hell,” she said. “Having a combatitve ex step out of the parenting arena, the way Trump did (while still providing financial support), would be a huge relief to parents I know who share custody with a narcissistic ex!” 
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims ― 1.6 billion members of an entire religion ― from entering the U.S. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: huffingtonpost families

Dad Hilariously Channels Expecting Fiancée In Pregnancy Photo Shoot

During a pregnancy photo shoot, one dad decided to (temporarily) steal the show in a hilarious way. 
Brandon Moreland of Bran85 Photography in Florida took photos of Jessica Velez and Lewis Mohorn for a pregnancy shoot. During the shoot, which had the theme “#Blessed,” Mohorn proved that Velez didn’t have the only bump that deserved some time in the spotlight.

Moreland told The Huffington Post that he and Mohorn grew up together in Pompano Beach and that Mohorn has always been a “funny guy.” When he started to take his shirt off during the shoot, the photographer said he immediately started laughing.
“I encouraged him to take the shot holding his belly next to his fiancée, and he embraced it,” he said. “Most guys with a beer belly wouldn’t be so comfortable, but he is comfortable in his own skin.”

The funny photo made its way to Twitter on Monday, getting more than 31,000 retweets as of Thursday. Moreland told HuffPost he was “honored” to take the couple’s now viral pregnancy photos, and aside from photographing the Miami Heat basketball team, snapping these photos of the couple has been his favorite photo shoot so far. 
“I’m so grateful for people like Lewis Mohorn and Jessica Velez,” he said. “They make being a photographer so fun for me.”
H/T BuzzFeed — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
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Sly Guy Secretly Swaps His Family Photos For Steve Buscemi Pics

It took a while for this mom to get the picture.
Kevin Manion, 21, of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin decided to play a hilarious trick on his parents by secretly switching framed family photos around his parents’ home for pictures of actor Steve Buscemi.

And his parents didn’t notice right away, either.
His sister Clare,19, tells The Huffington Post that her brother started the prank on July 20, and swapped one photo a day for five days. On day two, his father figured it out, but it took her mom a whole five days to discover that something fishy was going on.

“She saw [Kevin’s] senior picture from far away and was so confused because his head was too big and the colors were wrong,” Manion told HuffPost. “So she walked over and saw it was Steve.”

Manion said her mom thought it was hilarious, and apparently so did Manion.
She posted photos of her brother’s gag to Twitter, where it has received over 50,000 likes and over 30,000 retweets.

My brother has been replacing family photos with pics of Steve Buscemi and my mom hasn't noticed— Clare Manion (@claremaura) July 24, 2016

But why Buscemi? Manion had a very simple response:
“My brother thought Buscemi was the best face to have around the house.” — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: huffingtonpost families

Why I Bought Boys' Underwear For My Daughter

My husband is a huge fan of Star Wars, and when our daughter was born, he was so excited to share his love of it with her that he talked to her about it all the time. And now, I can honestly say that my 2-year-old daughter has become a Star Wars fan in her own right. Ask her about any of the movies, and she’ll be able to tell you who all of the characters are — from Darth Vader to Yoda to BB8 to Rey to Boba Fett. She can tell you what the Death Star is, and identify all of the ships (Millennium Falcon vs. X-Wing vs. Tie-Fighter anyone?) on her own. She even knows the tagline “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” by heart.

And actually, after seeing the newest movie and reading my daughter the books about the original movies, I have to say I’m a pretty big Star Wars fan myself.

We’re a Star Wars family.

So when my daughter started becoming interested in going pee on the potty, we immediately thought of getting her Star Wars themed underwear – since we figured the reminder “Keep Yoda Dry” would help motivate her to go on the toilet instead of in her diaper.

I thought that would be easy to accomplish through a simple search on Amazon, right?


Do a search for “Star Wars Toddler Underwear” on Amazon, and all you get are boys underwear.

Do a search for “Star Wars Girls Toddler Underwear” on Amazon, and you get no results.

Do a search for “Star Wars Girls Toddler Underwear” on GOOGLE, and across all merchants there is just one option for older girls (not toddlers) where the primary colors are pink and purple. So basically, when clothing manufacturers finally provided a Star Wars underwear option for girls, they made Star Wars pink and purple because, of course, girls will only like light sabers and Darth Vader if they are pink.

I was shocked that clothing manufacturers somehow decided that only boys would enjoy having their favorite Star Wars characters on their underwear. That only boys would be interested in sci-fi and space. That only boys would like underwear that’s multicolored instead of primarily blue (vs. girls, who of course would only prefer underwear that’s pink and purple). That only boys should have access to the identities and themes in Star Wars: that of intelligence, engineering, problem solving, space exploration, adventure, strength.

And then again, I shouldn’t have been too surprised because of the recent #wheresrey debacle – where toy manufacturers failed to create a Rey doll for Star Wars, despite the fact that she’s the HERO and the MAIN CHARACTER.

My daughter is a girl who loves Star Wars. We talk about space at home. She enjoys learning about planets, pretending she’s an astronaut, and pretending to “fly” around our house. She likes all colors, not just the color pink. She also enjoys skirts and dresses, and especially enjoys wearing those skirts over her favorite blue Star Wars pajamas.

My daughter can’t be put into a “girl” box, just because she happens to be a girl.

So, when we started potty training and my daughter asked for Star Wars underwear, we ended up just buying her boys underwear. Because 1) who cares about that little flap in the front, she won’t know the difference and 2) she deserves to have access to the same interests and identities that boys her age do.

Clothing manufacturers, get on board. Girls like Star Wars too.

#makestarwarsunderwearforgirls — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: huffingtonpost families