When Mommy Had Enough
by Stacilynn Brown
"Sissy, please don't cry honey. You'll get the hang of it eventually. Now take the sides of your pretty dress in your hands again and pull them out ever so gently as you bend your knee and drop into a sweet curtsey for Mommy." Sissylynn's mommy instructed her new daughter. Smiling and clapping her hands, Kathy Richards was so proud of her daughter for completing a perfect curtsey. "Oh honey that was just so perfect! Now come here and give mommy a hug sweetie." Kathy embraced her daughter, caressing her long hair. "Now Sissy you've been such a good student all morning, how about we go to the mall and have some mother/daughter fun? We can get some pretty things, grab a bite to eat and take in a movie." Kathy was sweeping Sissylynn's bangs from her eyes, then gave her daughter a sweet lil kiss on her forehead. Sissylynn snuggled into her mommy and nodded her head as a smile crept across her face.
Pleasing her mommy made her feel like bursting with joy. She loved her mommy so much, but it wasn't always so loving between Kathy and her daughter. Four years ago when Sissylynn was born Thomas Allan Richards; Kathy was such a proud mother of a 7lb 3oz baby boy. Kathy loved having a baby, although she hoped for a little girl, she was still happy with a baby boy. She knew with her guidance and love her son could grow up to be a sweet and gentle lil man. Just because so many men in the world were jerks who treated women like they were no more than a trophy or a piece of meat for their pleasure, little Thomas didn't have to follow that path.
The father left Kathy when she was three months pregnant, claiming he wasn't ready to be a daddy at only twenty four years old. Kathy herself was only seventeen that summer, but knew with her resilience she would not only give birth but she would manage to bring her baby into a world of love as her parents had given her.
Kathy's parents met at Woodstock in 1969 on Yasgur's Farm, where she was conceived; in an embrace of love and peace, and brought up in a world of unconditional love and understanding; so her baby would too. Her mom, Anne Barkley was 21 and a recent grad from Mt Holyoke, an all girls school. Anne was active in the protests against the war in Vietnam that summer when she had heard about the gathering at Yasgur's. Totally against her own parents Republican attitudes she was a young free spirited woman. Anne traveled out to the New York farm with her girlfriends from school. Her future husband Michael, she met at the concert when she heard this awful voice just behind her, singing along to Janis Joplin. Anne turned around and noticed this cute boy, smiling at her. Anne having grown up in a strict household wasn't allowed to date boys till she went to college; where she found herself experiencing a whole new world of free love in the late 60's... Anne and Michael were both swaying with the crowd to the music, both having a contact high from all the pot and hash being smoked around them. They stared into each other's eyes. Michael reached out and took Anne's face in his soft, gentle hands and kissed her. A warm tender kiss. Anne was melting as she leaned into his kiss and his arms as he embraced her. Anne knew at that moment that this young man would become her husband. Later that evening they made love for the first time, and the first of 3 daughters was conceived..., Kathy Richards was their first love child.
Kathy and her sisters grew up believing anything was possible in life as long as love was one of the variables. Unlike their mother Anne's young adult life, Kathy and her sisters were allowed to date and experience the joys of young love. And so Kathy passed this openness along to her own child. Her sisters Rachel and Heather made wonderful aunts to Thomas even though they were still teenagers. Their mom Anne was such a fun grandmother for Thomas, but their dad, Michael turned out to be a lying, cheating husband, who followed so many skirts over the years Anne finally divorced him. Free love meant something different to Michael. No one saw him anymore, not even a birthday card was sent to his daughters. Anne still loved Michael, but she also despised him for breaking her heart. Anne devoted her life to her daughters and grandson.
"Thomas Allan!!! What am I going to do with you young man?! Just look at you!" Kathy was flustered, working 2 jobs to help her mom keep a roof over all their heads. Kathy wasn't able to move out on her own when her boyfriend left her at 3 months pregnant, instead she stayed with her mom and sisters and worked till she gave birth to Thomas. Once the baby was born Rachel; who was 11 at the time and Heather, 9, helped Kathy and their mom raise the baby boy. Heather and Rachel were very excited to have a real baby to mother instead of dolls. Four years later, the girls were more than just aunts to little Thomas, but more like surrogate mothers to him while Kathy was at work; a secretary for Randall Industries over in Cranston during the day, and cocktail waitressing at Club Hell in Providence on Friday and Saturday nights. "Kathy, what do you expect, he's a lil boy." Anne was chuckling as she watched her daughter cleaning up Thomas after what looked liked a mud bath in the backyard with the hose. "I know he's a lil boy, but I'm tired of washing his clothes all the time. I'm just tired in general." Kathy sighed as she wiped some mud off of Thomas' face, who wasn't happy about the vigorous scrubbing. "I don't remember us ever being so dirty when we were kids..." Kathy was near tears as she pulled the mud soaked tee shirt and shorts off her son. "Sometimes I wish you were born a girl Thomas, maybe you'd get dirty once in a while but never this bad!" Pulling off his socks and shoes, Kathy cleaned as much of the mud off of him as she could before bringing him into the house for a hot sudsy bubble bath. Thomas despised bubble baths. He hated the sweet smelling oils his mommy and aunts put into his baths. While he was only 4 years old he knew something was different about his life. His friends who were boys never smelled all girly like he did, and their hair was short, unlike his which reached to the middle of his back and kept in a ponytail. At least they didn't put those frilly things in his hair like the girls in his class at school. "Mommy, why do you always say you wish I was born a girl? I like being a boy." Thomas was pouting.
Summer vacation finally started for Thomas and his aunts which meant fun. Fun for him playing with his friends Mikey and Robbie who lived on his street, while his aunts had their friends over for pool parties. While his aunts and their girlfriends were laughing and gossiping about boys around the pool all day long, his mom and nana at work; Thomas was either at Mikey's or Robbie's house playing all day long. If the weather was bad, the boys would be at Thomas' up in his room playing video games. No matter where he played though there was always an adult present or his aunts to make sure they didn't get into too much trouble. The boys really didn't like hanging around at Thomas' house though cuz his aunts and their friends always tried to use them as models for trying out new hair styles or makeup. Mikey and Robbie who were both older than Thomas at 7 yrs old and really didn't have the long hair like Thomas or the disposition to sit there and be all fussed over, were usually laughing hysterically at poor Thomas calling him a sissy. Thomas would pout and start crying which only inflamed the teasing even more. The girls would agree with his little friends that he was being a lil sissy and give him different girls names. They would tell him if he was a real boy he wouldn't start crying about his ordeal, he would have just put his foot down and refuse to let them fuss over him. Of course it didn't help that his aunts would tell how they bathed him with their scented oils and how his mom wished he were born a girl. Eventually Mikey and Robbie stopped hanging out with lil Thomas, leaving him all alone with his aunts and their girlfriends all day long. Heather and Rachel suggested that some of their girlfriends little sisters come along with them to their daily pool parties. That way Thomas wouldn't be alone and maybe he would learn some manners in the meantime.
Just great Thomas thought. Upset and refusing to cry in front of all the girls, knowing they'd only tease him more he wandered out into the backyard. Unable to reach the lock on the gate around the inground pool, he didn't even bother. Instead, Thomas went and turned on the hose to play in the water. He remembered Robbie's older brother Jake mentioned that if you turn on a hose and push it into the ground something cool happens... he couldn't remember what happened though. Figuring he'd find out for himself he started pushing the hose down, and sure enough the hose started to enter the ground. Farther and farther the hose disappeared until the entire length of hose, some 50 feet was now buried in their backyard! Trying to remove the hose was another matter... tugging and pulling on the hose with all his strength the hose didn't even budge. Thomas thought for a moment, and turned off the hose, thinking that would make the difference and the hose would come out now. Again he pulled on the hose but nothing happened, except his hands slipped and he fell backwards onto the sopping wet and muddy grass. Just then he heard the girls coming outside, giggling, heading to the pool.
"Thomas? Where are you? Time for some lunch kiddo." Aunt Rachel was calling out to him. "Carrie's here and she brought her lil sisters Shannon and Sheila! They're twins! Come on Thomas you'll all have fun, they're only a couple years older then you honey." Shannon and Sheila were 9 years old, identical twins. "We made some lunch for the three of you and then you can come swimming with us if you want." Rachel was coming around the corner of the fence that spanned the pool with the twins in tow. Thomas stopped breathing for a moment, trying to figure out an excuse about the hose. Wonderful, Thomas thought. I'll be in trouble for the stupid hose and get stuck playing with these twin girls who'll just want to play with their dolls all day long. "Thomas... Oh there you are. Honey this is Shannon and Sheila; Carrie's lil twin sisters, girls this is my lil nephew Thomas. Come on kiddo lets go have some lunch." Rachel and the girls couldn't see the hose stuck in the ground yet, or the virtual lake Thomas was sitting in till they walked a little closer. Rachel cupped her hand over her mouth as she started laughing, which made the twins giggle. Rachel had a boyfriend last summer, Kevin, whose friends tricked him into this same stunt with the hose. Remembering how pissed off Kevin's parents were about the hose, she could only imagine how mad her sister Kathy would be when she got home from work and heard the news. She'd gladly help Thomas cover up the fiasco but she knew from last summer that the hose was stuck in the ground for good, unless they wanted to dig it up, and at 50 feet she knew, the hose wasn't going to be dug up any time soon. Nope, Thomas was going to be explaining himself later tonight to her sister. Granted she was partially at fault for not keeping a better eye on him, but he was always into some kind of mischief and she was only 15 years old herself and wanted to enjoy her summer. Her and Heather and their mom helped Kathy a lot when it came to raising Thomas, but this kid was just too much sometimes.... Their girlfriends all had little sisters, and yea they got into trouble sometimes but not nearly as often as Thomas nor as dirty as this kid! They were always cleaning him up it seemed, and the laundry that had to be done to keep up with Thomas was annoying. Her sister was getting more and more frustrated with Thomas too, working two jobs to help her mom pay the bills. Kathy was definitely stressing out. Rachel had to agree with her sister..., maybe if Thomas had been born a girl their lives would be a lot easier. She looked at her nephew sitting in the water and mud, staring at the hose he buried into the ground and smirked. An evil smirk at that..., Rachel giggled as she visualized Thomas in one of her or Heather's old party dresses...
After cleaning Thomas, Rachel sat him down with the twins and fed them lunch. "After you guys finish up why don't you change into your bathing suits and hang out with the rest of us around the pool?" The twins perked up at the thought, hanging out with the older girls sounded like fun. Thomas just sat there, playing with his food. The thought of sitting around with all those girls for the rest of the day didn't appeal to him.
"Thomas, please stop playing with your food. You’re not moving from this table until you finish that plate young man!" Rachel was losing her patience with her nephew.
Thomas pushed his plate away, knocking over his glass of milk, and planted his head into his hands pouting. Sheila and Shannon caught the spilling milk with their napkins before it landed on their new matching sundresses. "What a little baby! Rachel, if Thomas is going to act like such a little baby why don’t we treat him like one!" Shannon exclaimed, Sheila nodded in agreement. Thomas burst into tears, hopping off his chair, running to the sanctuary of his bedroom, flying past Heather and the girls finishing up lunch in the kitchen. Tearing up the stairs, misplacing his footing he fell near the top of the staircase; giving himself a bloody nose. The scream could be heard outside as Thomas felt the pain immediately and saw the blood gushing out of his nose. Screaming and crying he made it to his bedroom and curled up into a ball on his bed, holding onto his life-sized Panda teddy bear named Bearsky. Shaking with short breaths between the sobs, he was making himself hyperventilate which only scared Thomas more. Heather and her girlfriends all jumped when they heard the scream and headed towards the stairs while Rachel and the twins were heading inside from the back patio. Everyone met up in Thomas’ bedroom at about the same time. Heather and Rachel went straight to Thomas, trying to calm him down. Rachel was holding Thomas in her arms while Heather was wiping away the blood as gentle as she could with some Kleenex she found near his bed. "Someone please get me a washcloth and wet it with cold water." Heather asked nobody in particular. "Come on sweetie, you need to calm down. Try to take slow breaths like this." Heather made exaggerated slow breaths so Thomas could mimic her. Rachel was brushing his hair out of his eyes and rocking him back and forth in a gentle motion; like a mother with her newborn. The rocking motion was hypnotic to the young boy as both Rachel and Heather cooed to him. Allison, one of Heather’s friends brought a cold, damp washcloth from the bathroom down the hall, handing it to Heather, who began to clean the drying brownish blood from Thomas’s face. His breathing was beginning to normalize as the bleeding slowed. The girls standing around in Thomas’s room were noting how feminine his bedroom appeared, from the white lace curtains tied with lacey bows at the windows to the white laced canopy bed with a baby blue lace comforter. Even the rug was a white deep pile, more suitable to a young girl rather than a young boy. The bedroom furniture was all in white. In the corner was a vanity table and chair with mirror. Stuffed animals lined the shelves on his baby blue walls. Thomas’s room was white and baby blue, not all too unusual for a little boy, except for the hints of girlishness… Was Thomas’s mom expecting a baby girl while she was pregnant? Why would a little boy have such an overly feminine bedroom?
The girls began to filter out of Thomas’ bedroom once they realized the kid was going to be okay. Downstairs, the girls gathered in the living room, waiting for Rachel and Heather to return with their nephew. Jon Mayer was on MTV and the girls were discussing how cute the new pop sensation was and how his voice made each of them melt.
"Hey, did any of you notice how girly that kid’s bedroom is upstairs?" Lori asked all the girls. "I mean was his mom expecting a baby girl and couldn’t afford to change the bedroom after he was born?"
Giggling, Katie answered with her own version of the same question. "Or was his mom expecting a baby girl but ended up with a whining little crybaby who looks more like a girl than a boy!" All the girls laughed having experienced many episodes with Thomas bursting into tears, stomping his feet, pouting, whining, and worst of all…, the many times Thomas sat still while they used him as their very own live Barbie doll. Trying new hairstyles and makeup on the young boy with the beautiful long hair and porcelain doll face. The lengthy eyelashes that any girl would die for, Thomas was blessed with them. All the times he would sit quietly and allow the girls to apply polish to his fingernails and toenails in an assortment of colors. Sure, he would fidget a bit, but when the girls would admonish him for his ill behavior, then coax him gently, the young boy would sit as still as a mannequin; enjoying their approval, relishing in the love and acceptance he sensed from the girls. Thomas enjoyed the attention, but he hated admitting it to himself. The young boy was confused really. He knew he was exploring a world that should be taboo to him being a boy, but the attraction to the attention drew him deeper and deeper into the folds of femininity. Even his mother wanted him to be a girl. She had told him enough times how she wished he was born a girl. And Nana too seemed to smother him more like she did with the girls in the house. If he was gentle, well behaved and stayed clean, Nana would be there throughout the day cuddling and hugging him. Encouraging him to be sweet and soft spoken like his aunts.
"Now Thomas, you see what happens when you run thru the house? You get hurt. Now, if you acted like a sweet little girl, you would know better than to run like a ruffian up the stairs. It’s no wonder why your Mommy wishes you were born a little girl instead. And I know that your Aunt Heather and I wished you were our little niece instead of our nephew too." Rachel was still rocking Thomas back and forth as she cuddled him. Heather was smiling and wiping away all of his tears as the little boy was hugging onto Bearsky. Thomas was quiet, except for his soft sniffles. Allowing himself to be cuddled and pampered, he wanted to please his aunts and his mommy; but he was afraid of being taunted and tormented by the girls downstairs and the kids in the neighborhood. If he could be a girl and not a sissy boy, he’d take the chance they were offering him; to be a little girl, a niece, a daughter, a grand-daughter. Thomas wanted to please all of them, but he was afraid.
"Thomas, how would you like to try a little experiment? I promise it will be lots of fun sweetie!" Heather was speaking as soft as possible without whispering to her young nephew, coaxing him further into the folds of femininity. Rachel was smiling and winked at her sister.
The young boy, rubbed his eyes, and nodded to his Aunt Heather. "Okay Auntie." Thomas let go of his panda bear Mr. Bearsky and sat up on his bed, Rachel still holding him. Heather was beaming.
"Alright sweetie, your Aunt Rachel and I want to dress you up like our little niece in some of our old clothes that Nana has saved for when we have little girls of our own someday. Doesn’t that sound like fun?" Heather was bubbling with happiness, hoping it would be contagious to her nephew.
"Ok Auntie, but won’t everyone laugh at me and call me names? I don’t want to be made fun of anymore." Thomas looked down at his hands in his lap, fingers twiddling, his porcelain face pouting, on the verge of another round of tears.
Reaching out, taking her nephew in her arms Heather hugged him, brushing his hair back out of his face, cooing in his hair, reassuring him that no one would make fun of him, let alone even know he was anything but a girl since birth by the time they were finished with him. Heather took his soft doll-like face in her hands and kissed his nose… "Hon, your Mommy is going to be so happy when she gets home from work and sees what a sweet young lady you have become!" Taking his hand, Heather coaxed him off his bed and followed her sister with Thomas in tow towards the attic to retrieve some of the prettiest little girl party dresses ever seen. Along with the party dresses, both girls pulled out petticoats, panties, cable knit knee socks, tights, lacey ankle socks, vests, camisoles, gloves, maryjanes and t-strap patent leather shoes from the trunks where Nana had stored all of their feminine finery from their own childhood. Heather and Rachel both squealed and giggled when they came across the bows and hair ribbons that adorned their hair when they were Thomas’s age. Even their nephew seemed to be enjoying himself as they piled the clothes into his arms. The happiness was contagious for Thomas. "Come on kiddo, let’s go down to our room so we can get you dressed and make you pretty!" Heather announced to her soon to be niece. "Better start thinking of a girl’s name for yourself sweetheart, cuz when Rachel and I finish with you, Thomas just won’t be appropriate anymore!" Heather giggled. Rachel winked and smiled at her sister.
"Heather, I’m gonna go downstairs and let everyone know we’ll be up here for a while setting up a little surprise. They’ll probably go swimming while they wait, but I just want to let them know so they’re not wondering what we’re doing up here so long."
"That’s cool sis. We’ll get started up here with a nice scented bubble bath." Heather took her nephew’s hand and led him towards their pretty, pink, princess bathroom and drew a bubble bath for him while Rachel was downstairs explaining what they were up to with their nephew. That way no one would burst out laughing when they came downstairs with their new niece and ruin what they were trying to create in Thomas.
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