Chatty Kathy

Chatty Kathy

Jonny Steele was “huge,” he was a legend in our neighborhood. He was thirteen like the rest of my friends, but as I said, he was huge; five foot seven, one hundred and fifty-five pounds. Jonny was a lefty at the plate, though I think he wrote righty in school. Anyways, he was at bat, and I was third base coach.

Jonny’s brother Mike was the pitcher on the other team. Jonny and Mike got along well, most would say like oil and water. I thought the got along more like a lit match and a keg of powder. That was part of the reason Mike was not on our team, the league separated the two, having seen how well they play together (or rather didn’t get along). Mike knew how Jonny liked to hit, and I’m pretty certain that’s the reason Mike was pitching low and outside.

Jonny was able to gets a hit on just about anything Mike ever threw at him. Today was no different, Mikey’s next pitch was higher than he was trying for, but Jonny cracked a grin, then a homerun. Stevie leadoff was probably caught out of the corner of Mikes eye, just as he was mid-pitch, causing the pitch to end in a perfect spot for Jonny.

Mike was furious, he was throwing nothing but fast balls for the next three batters. Three strikeouts in a row. When we left the infield, I told coach that Mike wasn’t throwing the called pitches. Coach didn’t really like me on the team, I could barely catch, and had trouble hitting. He did however like that I could figure out the called pitches in the first couple innings of each game. That was my contribution to the team.

My job was to look at the guys we had on base, as if telling them to steal or stay, but really I was signaling the batter as to what pitch was called. Mike not throwing the called pitch is how they got the strikeouts. Donny and Thomas got on second and third in the fourth, before then end of the inning was called from a high fly ball. At the bottom of the fifth, Stevie got a two base hit, then stole third when Larry, the catcher on Mike’s team erred on a low pitch. Mike was pissed again, and was throwing low and outside to Jonny like he usually did. Stevie was close enough to me that I could tell him to tell coach, without the third baseman hearing.

Jonny got ahold of one that looked like it would be another homerun, so I sent Stevie on to home. He crossed the plate just as the wind pushed Jonny ball foul. The count was now full, but Stevie had scored, then went to fill in coach on what Mike was pitching.

Bases were empty, Jonny was fouling every pitch Mike threw at him then coach called a timeout. After a brief talk in the dugout, coach sent me back to third baseline, and Jonny in to hit right handed. With nobody on base I wasn’t to signal pitches, keeping our rouse of me signaling base runners. I had just looked to my left to look at the scoreboard that read six to two in our favor, when I heard Jonny hit the ball. I felt the ball hit me in the back of the head, then everything went black.

When I woke up, Mom was holding me on her lap, cradling me, but it was the smell of something the EMT guys were holding under my nose that actually woke me. I later learned they were called smelling salts. Man, the stink! Once I was awake, they loaded me on a gurney, then got me into the ambulance. I had been crying the whole time from the pain. Mom rode with me and Dad followed in the car.

The hospital put me through a battery of tests that day, even after giving me some painkillers, I was still crying. Dad’s first words to me were “Dry it up Kathy, it’s over now.” Damn, he’s got to be the biggest asshole on the planet.

“Knock it off Dale,” I heard my mother say.

“Linda, if he doesn’t toughen up, he’ll suffer abuse his whole life,” my father retorted.

“So, it’s ok for YOU to abuse him?” her response shut Dad up for a change. “YOU appear to be his biggest bully!” she finished.

Dad was the only reason I was on the baseball team. Dad made sure I was in some kind of sport. Football had me hospitalized twice before Mom put a stop to that, and I was too short for basketball.

A few years ago, we had gone to a family get together. Dad was the youngest of five sons, naturally I was nearly the youngest of my cousins. I probably would be the youngest if Uncle Pete hadn’t remarried after Aunt Carol died.

Aunt Laura, Uncle Pete’s second wife got pregnant two years after I was born. Daisy was therefore the youngest. At the get together, she was bored and underfoot. It usually fell to me to keep her entertained, so we were in her room playing with Chatty Kathy and Mrs. Beasley.

I had been ten that day, Daisy was seven going on eight. Dad came up to get us when dinner was ready and threw a fit. From that day on, he tried to make sure the only things I did were boy oriented. Nobody understood why he was so bent out of shape, they all knew that I played with Daisy to keep her out of the kitchen. It wasn’t like I played with dolls any other time, just when I had to keep Daisy busy.

That had been Memorial Day, when the fourth of July came that year, I asked Mom if I should bring anything to help keep Daisy busy. Dad overheard and went off the rails again. “If you’re going to be playing with her, you may as well wear a dress too.”

“Stop it Dale, you know no one else is anywhere nears Daisy’s age.” Mom was always my defender when Dad got in a pissy mood.

“Linda, if Ryan is going to play girl, he’s going to look like a girl, I’m not raising a sissy.”

“Daisy can’t be expected to do the same things as the older boys Dale!” Mom was getting angry, something Dad was fairly quick to cause when he went off on one of his Macho rants. “Ryan does nicely keeping her busy, so we can get dinner made in time.”

“Then he can wear a dress, and we’ll call him Kathy, just like that doll he was playing with.”

Mom took me by the hand and lead me to my room. After closing my door, she pulled out her cell phone and called Aunt Sara. “Sara? Linda, do you still have that costume Danny wore for Halloween three years ago? Yes, can you bring that over in an hour? Dale is being an ass, I’ll explain when you get here. I just need to send him on an errand if about forty-five minutes. Ok, see you then.”

I remember that costume and questioned Mom about it. It was a Disney Princess, Belle I think. Lots of the kids had a great laugh at the costume, because Danny was quite campy about it. Mom wanted to wait until Aunt Sara showed up to fill me in.

Danny was two years older than I was, making him the fourth youngest, with Billy between us. He was also much larger than I was, I think Aunt Sara had all his old costumes saved from each year, probably what gave Mom the idea to call Aunt Sara. Anyways, once Dad was gone and Aunt Sara showed up, Mom got down to the plan. My hair wasn’t long, so the only thing they could do was to cut it into a pixie cut. After that was done, Aunt Sara left. Her part of the plan was to spread the word to the other parents, aunts and uncles. All of us Boys would be Princesses today and play with Daisy.

Dad got home about fifteen minutes before we had to leave. I was in my room listening to music and sitting in my pjs. He stuck his head in my room, “I’m going to load the car, get dressed and ready to go.

Ten minutes later I heard him yell, “Linda, get Ryan out here so we can get to Pete’s” Mom came in the room and we quickly fixed my pixie cut that I messed up so Dad wouldn’t see it right away. The Belle dress that fit Danny perfectly when he was nine, fit me perfectly as well, even though I was ten at the time. The small wedge shoes felt a bit strange, but were negotiable.

“I guess you are playing with Daisy,” he stated with disgust as Mom and I got in the car. He kept his look of disgust all the way to Uncle Pete’s and Aunt Laura’s. As we pulled up outside, he put the car in park and muttered something about it being weird none of my cousins were playing catch or throwing shoes.

“Grab some of the food or drinks Kathy,” he said in a snooty voice.

“Don’t you dare Kathy, that’s a boys job. Send out your cousins.” Mom intoned.

I ran to the front door as fast as I could in the wedges. “Aunt Laura, Dad said to send out the cousins to help.” I yelled loud enough to make sure Dad heard me. Aunt Laura and Aunt Sara were in hysterics already knowing the plan.

Dad was super pissed when he saw all my Princess cousins walk out the door. “I guess you’ll have to get it all by yourself Dale, the Princesses shouldn’t be getting dirty doing a boys job!” Mom enthused.

His mood didn’t get better when all of his brothers informed him he shouldn’t have brought so much if he didn’t have a son to help him carry it all. I guess Aunt Steph was able to pick up costumes at short notice from the theater she helped with part time, with the promise that all the costumes were returned in the same condition. I don’t think Daisy ever had that much fun.

The only downside to that day had been Dad’s insistence of dressing as a girl if I was going to play with Daisy, which I always did, the other cousins only helped that one day, but never gave me grief knowing it was Dad’s requirement. If you consider it, deportment lessons would be the other downside, but that wasn’t really that bad. Mom would do that when Dad wasn’t around.

Mom decided when it was time for a haircut, she’d put me in my latest dress, take me to the salon for a new pixie cut, then for a dress or skirt and top big enough I could grow into it. She did always make sure one of my uncles would keep Dad busy while we were at it. Daisy loved the hand me downs, because they were always from cousin Kathy.

So, back to age thirteen in the hospital, battery of tests, pain medication not having any effect. They decided to keep me overnight for observation. Mom sent Dad home, she wasn’t in any mood to deal with his attitudes about boys and girls behaviors. She saw my smiles after he’d left the room for the night, and returned one of her own.

“Mom?” she gave me a questioning look, so I continued, “If Dad is going to keep up the Kathy name, I may as well just wear dresses all the time, or at least girls clothes. Winter might suck in a dress.” I think she chuckled at that last part.

“That’s up to you, Baby” I wonder if she knows how embarrassing ‘Baby’ is? “If you do that, we won’t be calling you Kathy though.”

“Why not Momma?” I asked her.

“Because when I was pregnant with you the doctors said you would be a girl, but you weren’t . We had picked out the name Lydia. It’s close to my name without being the same,” she informed me.

“Do you think I should? It doesn’t seem like he’s going to stop, maybe it’ll be better to have my own real name.” She smiled again at me, just as Uncle Stan walked into the room.

“That’s not a bad idea,” he said catching us both by surprise. “You might want to talk to the ladies about that tomorrow, and have them talk to my brothers except for Dale. Get a plan and a full wardrobe for Lydia if you decide to do it.”

“It’s going to cause some major problems at our house if we do that Stan,” Mom replied.

“I’m sure it will Linda, but all of us are sick of baby brothers sexist attitude, so any of us will put you two up, until he gets his head out of his ass. Our boys would look after Lydia at school too if it goes that far.”

Mom and Uncle Stan looked at me, “What do you think, Ryan or Lydia?” Mom asked.

“Lydia!” I smiled.

“I’ll tell Jenn when I get home,” Uncle Stan said. “She left about an hour ago, and won’t have to be here tomorrow. She can get the ball rolling, when you get out of here tomorrow, bring Lydia’s outfit over for those two to go shopping. Tell Dale ‘Ryan’ is going to stay with us for a couple days. That’ll give you and the other ladies a chance to get Lydia together. We’ll fill all the boys in while you and Dale are working.”

“Do you think we’ll need a gender consult? I mean it’s just to break Dale of his stupid comments ,” Mom questioned.

“I’ll ask Jenn when I get home, she’s the psychiatrist. She will likely talk to one of the others to see if it’ll be necessary for an intervention type of dress up,” Uncle Stan commented. “Now, you get some rest, young lady.” Uncle Stan’s smile was very warm considering the comment was to me as a young boy in appearance.

When I woke up in the morning, Mom wasn’t in the room. I hit the nurse call button to find out if it was OK for me to go to the bathroom. Nancy, Aunt Jenn’s best friend came into the room. “Such a good patient,” she said. “I’m glad you know we’d rather help, than have you try on your own the first time.”

“I’ve been here enough times Aunt Nancy! I know what you want ‘cause of my aunt and uncle,” I informed her.

“You know you can just call me Nancy sweetie,” she said.

“You’re my aunt’s best friend, and I like it better than Nurse Nancy!”

“Ok, ok,” she relented. “Your Uncle told me about last night conversation between you, him, and your mother. Do you want me to call you Lydia?” she asked.

“May as well,” I responded. “Hope Dad figures it out soon.”

Nancy helped me back into my bed, as she was leaving she said, “See you later, Lydia,” with a smile as she closed the door.

I heard her talking to someone outside my door for a minute or so before my door opened again, Mom walked in followed by of all people, Jonny and Mike. “Who’s Lydia?” came Jonny’s first question. Much to my embarrassment Mom filled Jonny and Mike in on Dad’s assholeish behavior. She included the first time, each time since, as well as how Dad was the night before. She also told them of the plan to get Dad to lay off.

“He needs punched in the mouth!” Jonny bluntly stated. Mike, mom, and I all laughed at that. “Don’t worry Lydia, we’ll help out at school too if it comes to that.”

To say Mom and I were stunned at that would be an understatement. “Thanks boys,” Mom said. I hope it doesn’t, but Dale still hasn’t figured anything out after all of our family gatherings. You’d think by now he should be able to get four from two plus two. Lydia may need more help than just protection, would your girlfriends or sister be up for some girl lessons?

Mike jumped in, “Oh yeah, Ang Will love it.”

“Ok, guys, run along. Remember, we are keeping this from Dale, or at least the reason for this. See you at the game later this week Jonny, and good luck on your next game Mike,” Mom said.

Dad was already at work when I got out of the hospital that day, so Aunt Jenn picked up Mom and me. Mom got out at out house, ran in for a few clothes for me, my girl outfit included, then went back in to get ready for work. I went home with Aunt Jenn.

The guys were playing catch when we pulled up. Dave had to carry my stuff up to the spare room, since Aunt Jenn pulled me into the home office she shared with Uncle Stan. She made a call to one of her colleagues named Kathy, I gave her a funny look. She just chuckled at me, letting me know Kathy was a gender specialist. I had to roll my eyes at her, but she still caught my smile.

Kathy told her she’d need blood panels done. Aunt Jenn informed her it was one of the tests I had done the previous night, and Uncle Stan would get her the results. My aunt then left us alone so I could talk to Kathy privately. We had a long chat, I think it was about an hour and a half. Since it was my idea to dress as Lydia, Kathy wanted to have a good idea of what I was going through. She told me if it had been Mom’s idea, she wouldn’t likely be as involved.

When I finished talking to Kathy my aunt had me shower, she plugged her nose next to me as a joke, then told me to get dressed in Ryan clothes. I would start dressing as Lydia after my dad went home that night.

Mom and Dad stopped over for dinner with my aunt and uncle’s family. Dad likes Papa John’s but we had Domino’s since it’s my favorite, and I was the guest of honor. They stayed about two hours, as they were leaving I gave Mom a hug and a kiss. She ruffled my hair on her way out the door.

I had heard Dad and his brother talking earlier, but it apparently did no good. When he saw a tear run down my cheek before the door closed, he had to go and make another of his comments. I wasn’t the only one that caught it. Aunt Jenn was right there wrapping me in a tight hug.

I slept pretty late the following morning. It was almost ten by the time my aunt wake me with a kiss to the forehead. “In the shower sweetie,” she told me. The shampoo and conditioner I use are in the top of the caddy. There is also a new razor, legs and underarms. I’ll get your clothes out of the closet while you are cleaning up.”

“Thanks Aunt Jenn.” I was still groggy, but apparently I was chipper enough.

When I made it back to the guest room, my family gathering outfit was on the bed with my wedges sitting with the toes stuck under the egde. It didn’t take long to get dressed, mainly the ‘tucking’ takes the longest.

“Morning Lydia!” came the excited shriek that stopped me dead in my tracks. I had just walked into the kitchen to get breakfast. I expected to see my aunt and maybe a cousin, but not Jonny’s sister Beth. “Put your eyes back in girlfriend, we have a busy day.”

“What are you doing here?” I asked Beth.

“Mike and Jonny came home from visiting you, they told the Family. We all agree that Dale doesn’t need to know why I get a new girlfriend to hang with at the Mall. Jonny said your mom thought you might need some girl lessons. Angie and I are going to help as much as possible.” Holy cow! I don’t think she took a breath.

I don’t know what made me do it, but I ran the last few steps and threw my arms around her for a heavy duty hug. Tears were starting again, I think she could feel me sobbing when I heard her say, “Probably best we didn’t do you makeup yet.”

Breaking away I couldn’t help but giggle. I had long since adopted some girly tendencies when in Kathy mode. “Maybe not full girl lessons, you seem to have some from your time as Kathy. Your aunt gave me a better idea of what it was like for you. Mike and Jonny only gave me highlight.” She was smiling as she explained she’d been there most of the morning already.

Once I’d been fed, we got into my aunts SUV then started towards the Mall. Beth explained on the way to the mall that they stopped at the hospital to see if I was still there, Uncle Stan told them where to find me. She also said that Ang couldn’t make it today, so she’d be with Aunt Sara to take me tomorrow.

“What’s that about Aunt Jenn?” I asked.

“You mother, Uncle Stan and I talked to the rest of the family. We are all taking turns getting you ready to meet you father as Lydia,” she replied. “I’m going to drop you off at Ray and Steph’s when we are done. Kathy told me the best place to find appliances for you, she did warn they may be a tad uncomfortable until you get used to them.”

“You mean like toasters and microwaves?” I deadpanned. “Bit of a fashion statement.”

“Funny, no, your boobies and whowho.” She informed me.

“Whowho?” I was confused

Giggling next to me, “You’re gonna have a Va Jay Jay.” Beth was covering her mouth.

So, the appliance store wasn’t Maytag. Generally, the customers were cancer survivors, But those same appliances brought in a few transgendered clients. Diana was great! She found some breast forms that were about halfway through the A cup. Once my ‘breasts’ were in place, Beth had to wait in the other room while Diana showed me and Aunt Jenn how to affix my vagina. Kathy wasn’t wrong, it’d take some getting used to.

The appliance store was right across from the mall, so I was informed the next step was Vickie’s. More surprises! Mom was standing there waiting on me, correction, us.

“You don’t think I’m going to miss getting my little girls first bra do you,” she questioned when I asked her why she wasn’t working. “Technically, I’m on lunch, but I was given a long lunch because of the accident. Kim also knows what we are planning, she thinks it’s a smart plan.” Mom’s boss Kim is one of my favorite adults, she’s really funny and quite kind.

“Ohhh, Lydia!” Beth was holding a racy twenty-seven ‘A’ black bra panty set.

“Absolutely not!” Mom said. “Black yes, racy no. Some outfits will need the black sets. Get something simple.” Before Mom left, we found a dozens sets in my size, some sleep wear, and casual lounging clothes. The sweats with ‘Pink’ across my backside are going to give Dad fits. Oh well, his problem.

Mom left to go back to work. Next stop, where else is a girl going at the mall? You know it! Claire’s! Double ear piercings, denim handbag my aunt got me from across the hall, rings and necklaces, but hair accessories would have to wait, really not enough hair yet to do anything with.

“Ok girls, we got time for pizza before we have to be at the Salon!” Aunt Jenn led us to the food court. Svabaro’s isn’t great, but it’ll do for now, sure wish it were Domino’s. I was going to have two pieces, but my aunt talked me out of the second one. The tea was delicious though. I have always loved brewed iced tea.

My last pixie cut was still growing in, so all I really got was a cleanup. Split ends and all that, but I did get a few lowlights. The mani-pedi left me with cotton candy pink toenails, and French tip fingernails. When we left the salon, my aunt lead us to Dillard’s. The makeover at the MAC counter was something else. ‘Lacie’ or that’s what her nametag said made sure to explain everything she was doing.

Aunt Jenn tutted at the ‘date night’ makeup. Lacie explained the reason for that was so I could see it. She does two looks, one to see, then one appropriate for the time of day. I guess it means she only has to do it twice then. Summer day look had me looking like an average ‘cute’ teen girl.

At my aunts urging, Beth and I hit Teen Gap, and Abercrombie for a load of separates. We took longer than we thought, soon we were ushered out to the car with a load of bags. We were on the way to Uncle Ray and Aunt Steph’s. Ron, being sixteen was just pulling out of the driveway when we pulled in. Billy was told to help carry the bags to the spare room.

“Mom will be home in an hour,” he told us once we got everything in and Aunt Jenn had left to get ready for work. Billy didn’t really care for the fashion show I did while waiting on my aunt to get home from work. It was closer to an hour and a half before she actually made it home.

Normally, she teaches third grade, but now she was doing Summer school. I was just getting a new outfit on when she walked into the guest room with two rolling suitcases. “Aunt Steph!” I exclaimed. “I hope that’s not Ryan clothes.”

“No Dear, they are new and empty,” she told me. “However, you will need them when you go to Aunt Sara’s tomorrow.” I guess I hadn’t thought that far ahead, so I giggled while nodding. Beth was giggling too. “Now, how does Famous Footwear sound?” I think that excited Beth more than me.

Bogo! I got so many pairs of shoes there. Trainers, ballet flats, Keds, one and a half inch pumps, sandals, flip flops, muled beach shoes that I could go into the water wearing. Socks, all varieties, no shows, crew cut, stocking to go with nicer outfits, animals prints, stripped, and toesies.

From there we went to Wally World. Nail polish, cheaper makeup that I could experiment with before using my stuff from MAC. Head bands, a watch, bangles, bracelets, some stuff from crafts to make friendship bracelets and accessories. We did see a cute skater dress that my aunt thought I would look adorable in, so she got that too. Then back to her house, dropping off Beth on the way.

Angie was waiting on us when we got back. Her and Billy looked a bit too cozy talking in the driveway. I brought her to the guest room with my haul that Billy helped carry into the room. When I talked to her about being cozy with Billy, she said he was trying to get her number. I knew Jonny wouldn’t like that, I’d have to talk to him later.

Ang was going to be the first to sleepover with me. That was kinda strange, I really hope she was going to change in the bathroom, I sure don’t need Jonny thinking I saw his girlfriend naked. I learned to make my first friendship bracelet that night. Beth would end up showing me how to do it with beads a couple weeks later.

Ang didn’t want to mess up my french tips, so I ended up with six colors on my toes. So much for cotton candy! I learned how to do a french braid from my aunt, although I think a regular braid looked better after Ang redid it. Ang and I were able to get Billy to let us paint his big toes a dark blue, that almost looked black. Ron wasn’t as cooperative, so no fun there.

Before we crashed for the night, Aunt Steph showed me the crafts she had her class do that day. They were tags for my luggage, on one side it said ‘Ryan,’ ‘Lydia’ was on the other side.

Aunt Sara was there at eight thirty to pick us up in the morning. Macy’s was on the agenda for the day! Shorts, tops, nicer dresses for church type occasions, or holidays. I was feeling a bit peekish going through some of the bathing suits. I settled for a maillot and two bikinis. One of the bikinis was yellow, BRIGHT yellow, one was a teal color, the maillot was turquoise.

Mom was at Aunt Sara’s when we got there. We’d stopped at Aunt Steph’s to pick up the clothes and other new belongings we didn’t want filling my aunts car during today’s shopping trip. She had Jr. Cheeseburger deluxes for Ang and me. The boys got Baconators, while her and Aunt Sara had some salads.

Uncle Marc had just got to the house in time to help load all my new stuff into Mom’s SUV. Then it was off to Uncle Pete’s for the night. I was going to keep Daisy company, while everyone else met at Uncle Stan’s and Aunt Jenn’s. Daisy was ecstatic, having me babysit while the others got the scoop from Kathy on what to expect from me. I knew they were going to be having a meeting, what it was about, and things to look for, because it was one of the things I had talked to Kathy about.

We’d got the O.K. to lay out by the pool, but because of my injury, and Daisy’s age, we had to stay away from the water for a few days, unless someone was with us. Suzie showed up a bit later. She was from Aunt Laura’s first marriage. We got about ten minutes in the water to cool down while she was there. Aunt Laura asked her if she had kept anything that I might like to have if I was going to be Lydia very long.

“Okay girls,” Suzie started, “I need to get to Uncle Stan’s with everyone else. However, I have something for the two of you before I go.” She held up two necklaces, “Daisy, I was going to give both of these to you when you turned thirteen, but I didn’t think there would be anymore girls in the family when I made those plans. You get to choose which one you want lil’ sis.”

Daisy looked at the two very carefully. Both were very pretty, so much so that Daisy had trouble choosing one. “They are too pretty to choose Suzie, maybe we could just share them.” Daisy’s idea brought a satisfied smile to Suzie face.

“I like that idea, but this one on the longer chain is from our Grandmother, so I would like it to stay with you most of the time.” Suzie’s idea seemed to be best, Daisy didn’t mind it being that way.

“We got me quite a few this week, so I’ll just borrow one of them if one of mine doesn’t go with what I’m wearing.” Suzie was shaking her head, I guess she didn’t like that idea for some reason.

“The shorter necklace is from Grandma, your grandma, she gave it to my mom when Mom was getting dressed for the wedding. It was the something borrowed. So Lydia, you keep that one, you can share though. Mom asked me if I had anything to hand down, these are the only two things I have that would fit.”

“Maybe the three of us can go shopping next week, just us three girls,” I posed the question to them. Daisy I think really liked that idea, as she was nodding vigorously then hugged me.

“Good idea,” Suzie confirmed.

“Yeah, I’d like that a lot!” Daisy agreed. She then got a contemplated expression, “I hope you’re still a girl next weekend.” I was near tears as I pulled her into the tightest hug I can ever remember giving her. Suzie must have been in the same emotional state, as I felt her wrap her arms around Daisy and me.

“Okay girls,” Suzie started, “I need to get to Uncle Stan’s. I’ll make sure before next weekend. Pizza should be here in a few minutes, it’s already been paid for just have the delivery driver leave it outside, the bring it in after they leave.”

“Thanks Suzie, love you!” we chimed together. As Suzie opened the door the driver was reaching for the bell, she handed us the pizza, then headed for our aunt and uncle’s .

We sat at the kitchen table to eat pizza and drink our Pepsi. When it was just the two of us they prefer we not eat at the dining room table. Something about less mess, but both of us were good about cleaning up after ourselves. “What do you want to do?” I asked as we finished cleaning up.

“Duh, fashion show!” Daisy had this tone that said it was obvious. She was apparently the director of the show, putting together outfits that looked great. Not very many of the parts from each outfit were from the same store, she just had a perfect eye for fashion.

When Uncle Pete and Aunt Laura showed up with Mom, I was in an outfit that would only look good on the runway, it was so over the top. Our parents, Jeff and Luke all looked at us like we’d gone crazy, since we were gigging like five year olds on the playground. Mom suggested I go change into a regular outfit, since Dad was picking us up.

While I was changing Daisy was showing Mom each of the photos she took of me. She managed to get one of each outfit with both our phones. Sticking her head in the door, then walking in she asked for my phone. She scrolled through several pictures, stopping on the outfit she wanted me to wear. “How do you think Dad is going to take this Momma?”

“I think he’s going to have problems with it to be honest, but he was letting his feelings of what boys and girls should be doing get in the way of child’s play,” she opined. “If he hadn’t pushed you into sports, you never would have gotten injured, so he loses any choice in the matter from here on out.”

“Can we set up the guest room for me as Lydia?” I questioned her. “My room has a full sized bed, so it could be the guest room, and I can make the guest room a girl’s room.”

“Sounds like a great idea Sweetie.” Mom then gave me one of the greatest hugs in the world, it was a mother daughter hug. It was very different from hugs as Ryan, much more warmth in that one hug. “Okay, all dressed go play with Daisy for a bit if you want, or we can go join the others watching the tube.”

“I think I’m ready to relax,” I replied. “It’s been a busy couple days, T.V. I think. When I got to the living room, the movie Cinderella was on the screen. This was the live action movie, so I sat next to Daisy, we held hands while watching it. I don’t think either of us realized that we were doing it.

“I think it may have been the best choice to go this route,” Aunt Laura said to Mom. “They look completely natural like that.”

“May be right, Laura,” came Mom’s response.

We made it to the scene where the Prince was visiting the wicked stepmother’s house, and Cinderella could be heard singing while the stepmother was trying to hide her away. The door opened and in walked Dad, seeing us and rolling his eyes.

“Sit down and watch the end of the movie Dale.” Mom was not going to give Dad a chance to make a scene. Dad was giving me disapproving looks for the last few minutes of the movie, but I just ignored him to the best of my ability. It was reassuring to feel Daisy squeeze my hand, so I gave her a thank you smile.

Once the movie was over, with the credits rolling Dad said, “Kathy, go put your Ryan clothes on so we can get home.” I remained seated, it was something Mom had suggested I do before we left the other room. Raising his voice, Ryan, go get changed!” Still I was not moving. I thought Dad was going to blow a gasket.

He started to move towards me. Mom, Uncle Pete, Jeff and Luke moved like one, and quite quickly to intercept Dad when that happened. Aunt Laura wrapped me in a protective embrace, Dad just stood there dumbfoundedly.

“Get out of the way,” he started. “My son needs to get changed.” Almost perfect timing the front door opened to the rest of the family walking into the living room, along with Kathy. All of them had heard Dad yelling his last few words.

Poppa and Nana were among those walking into the room. I didn’t know who all had been told what, but when Poppa told Dad to sit down and shut his yap, I knew that my grands had been at least clued in. “There is only one Kathy in this room Dale,” Nana stared lecturing Dad, “and you are going to listen to everything she has to say. No interrupting.” Nana left no room for argument.

I hadn’t noticed that Daisy had slipped out of the room undetected until she came back in with Mrs. Beasley and Chatty Kathy. She handed me Kathy just as my counselor stared going over the events that lead up to today. “I guess there are two Kathys in the room now,” she paused for a moment while everyone but Dad chuckled. “Is that the doll that started this whole thing?” she questioned.

I shook my head to affirm her question. The whole time she was doing the recap, and getting to MY decision to present as a girl, Dad was getting hotter and hotter under the collar. “Next he’s going to want a boyfriend!” came one snippy response from him.

“Big deal,” Nana commented. “Now shut you mouth like you were told.”

“I’m not going to stand here and listen to this crap!” he bellowed.

“Yes, you are, or you go home alone tonight.” Mom informed him. “Lydia is officially transitioning from male to female, you can get with it or you’ll find you self alone, and divorce proceedings started.”

“I suppose you spent a fortune making him look like a harlot?” Dad tried to get in a sly dig.

“As far as I know, she only paid for one lunch in the last couple days, WE have all supported Lydia in getting a new wardrobe and accessories.” Uncle Stan informed his youngest brother.

“Not true Stan,” Mom said. “No way was I going to let someone else pay for my little girl’s first bra.” If the cartoons could be real, Dad would have had steam blowing out of his ears.

I think Kathy was just watching this all happen so she had some idea of where everyone stood on the subject. It was Poppa that put the issue to rest for the night though. “Dale, I’ve already talked to William about taking over the management. You’ll still be employed, but at the lowest pay rate. My will is already being changed, anything that you would get will now go directly to Lydia in a trust. Linda as the executor of the trust until Lydia has completed college, or ages to twenty-five.

If your prejudices interfere with the development of the child, if there is anymore verbal abuse, if there is a hint of physical abuse, or if you never accept your own child growing into the adult that she or he chooses, you’ll not be welcome. Nor will you have any form of contact. The lawyers are already working it out.”

To everyone’s amazement, Dad just got up and walked out of Uncle Pete’s house. Kathy turned to look directly at me, I think everyone else did too. “How you doing kiddo?” All I could really do was shrug. “I put a rush on your blood work, so by the time you visit my office, I’ll have an idea of where we sit.”

I got up from my seat, walking to Kathy, and wrapped her in a hug, whispering my thanks. Like others always seem to do, she just ruffled my hair and returned the embrace. I immediately moved my hands to my head, trying to make sure she didn’t mess up my hairdo. Most got a chuckle out of that, except the younger boys.

Poppa told everyone they’d see us next week for the fourth of July. Mom took my hand and led me to the guest room as everyone else was leaving. As soon as the door was clothed I got another mother/daughter hug, then just broke down in Mom’s arms. “It’s alright baby.” She repeated several times until I finally felt drained.

Once I had a bit of composure, she got me into something to sleep in, then we cleaned up and crawled into bed, where she held me as I wept myself to sleep. I woke a couple times during the night sobbing, but she was there for me the whole time. I don’t think I could ask for a better mother.

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