Sixty-one Going on Sixteen

Sixty-one Going on Sixteen

By Jessica C

It was just nine months ago that I had open heart surgery, quad-by-pass surgery of arteries to feed my heart. Back for a checkup and my cardiologist was disappointed with the lack of energy and stamina I was showing in my recovering. I have been back to work full-time, but I agree, I am not my regular self. Blood tests have shown the presence of cancer and it took several scans and tests pinpoint testicular cancer.

It took three weeks to see the specialist, the best surgeon for this procedure in our region. He gave the option of seeing an oncologist for the consideration of chemotherapy or radiation as options before surgery. I was assured by the doctor it was presently limited and self-contained. I decided on the surgery, knowing they would want the consideration of chemo and/or radiation treatments after the surgery as a precaution that no cancer cells were missed.

He put me on his surgery schedule in four weeks; it was to be one of his last surgeries before vacation. I was feeling down about the surgery but saw it as a good sign that things worked out for me to get the best surgeon for the job.

I had recently turned 61 and I chuckled when people suggested my manhood was being threatened. There is little in danger to my manhood at 61 being down to one testis. Our two adult children either had children or were expecting one. That I was sexually active with my wife was an idea that my daughters did not want to hear and frankly my wife really was not worried or interested. The congregation has trouble seeing their pastor as a sexual being unless it involves scandalous behavior.

The time flew quickly for others; for me, it felt like most days were at least 30 hours long. Hearing everyone’s one advice including family multiple times finally wore on my nerves and caused some restless nights. There is always extra work in anticipation of missing time away from the church whether it is a vacation, study leave or a medical leave that is anticipated. The time had finally come and I was ready to have it over with.

The lead surgeon was to do the surgery first thing in the morning at 6:00 am. But it was his Associate Dr. Denise Greene, who showed up at 6:30 stating her partner had been called to Michigan for an emergency there. Dr. Greene said, “It appears everything is gone, I just wish the Doctor took a more recent scan.”

We agreed to wait a day to get that scan taken. The good news was that there was no problem in rescheduling the surgery or the scan. The bad news wasn’t acknowledged until the next morning that the scan results were lost in the system. It would have shown that cancer had grown, but now it wouldn't be until the surgery that it would be discovered.

I had been held overnight for the surgery as it was scheduled again for early in the morning. My wife left early and my daughters went back to work so they could be off again for the surgery. I had a good nurse, Ashley, on the night shift which was a big help.

I was feeling a bit sorry for myself, my wife had gone home early, it was my second surgery within 12 months, the possible loss of a testicle played on my male ego along with my age. As a pastor, I would have been sensitive to others, but I didn’t give myself time to recover from heart surgery and did not give myself the emotional space for myself now.

Nurse Ashley asked, “Aren’t you the country pastor who lives south of here? I have seen you here as a pastor a number of times. There are local pastors I haven’t seen as much. You impressed me as being a person who is there for his flock however needed. It's sad you don’t give yourself space you would give them.” She was lifting my spirits and came back to my room as possible. We had gotten to the point of joking that I was giving her a hard time for the fun of it.

Ashley finally gave it back, “What’s your problem even with your surgery you are still the same person. You should be a 16-year-old girl like my little sister; it’s much harder than being a 61-year-old man of God facing surgery.”

I suggested she say a prayer if Ashley thought it was so easy. Ashley prayed “God bless Pastor Bob lifting him in your care that he would rest in your grace for the surgery tomorrow and for my sister Jaime to the changes as she grows as a young woman, and let each of them enjoy all the years ahead as young women. Amen.”

Ashley woke me at 4:30 and got me ready for surgery. My wife and daughters were there by 6:00 a.m. and saw me off for surgery. A neighboring pastor even stopped and shared he'd be there for my family as well as me. He too shared a prayer just before I went to surgery.

Dr. Denise greeted me. I gave her permission to do whatever was needed; stating she was to do what was needed for the sake of good health. "I don't want to be awakened after surgery to find out I had another surgery yet ahead of me, because I have not given the necessary permission.

It was somewhere the afternoon when I woke up from the surgery. I asked how things went, everyone said I was well, but they wouldn't tell me about the surgery. I wanted them to tell me more “Tell me what the doctor said; what the actual results were. Did something unexpected happened?” I was encouraged just to wait for the doctor.

“Tell them to get the doctor.” One of my daughters went to tell the nurses I was awake. A nurse came in and I asked her what the report was. She said I needed to wait for the doctor. I asked how long it would be. She said it could be a while before the doctor got here. I told her someone needed to get the doctor or get me an explanation, or I was going to keep calling for a nurse. The nurse came back and was about to put something in my IV. “If that is a sedative you better not, it is against my request.” She did not put the medicine in, but left and called the doctor. It was 20 minutes before Dr. Denise walked in.

“So what was the result of the surgery?”

Dr. Denise looked at my wife Norma, then my daughters; “How are you feeling?”

“I can tell there’s bandage and I have a catheter, and I know it’ll be sore to have it pulled out. You need to tell me. What I want to know is what you need to tell me.”

“There was more to the surgery, but you are going to be okay. I did what was needed as you asked and you're going to be okay. You will need to be here for 3-4 days.”

“So what was the extent of the surgery?”

“Mr. G, cancer had spread and I needed to remove more tissue than we expected. I believe it was still contained in the area of the surgery.”

I said, “If you are trying to tell me it included my other testicle or part of the penis, please tell me and quit the delay.”

“Okay, your daughters and wife know and they will stand by you.”

I asked my family, “Are you okay with what happened?”

My daughters said, "Yes." My wife said, “It is something we will get through.”

I asked if she was okay, but she got emotional and ran out. One daughter went out while the other stayed with me. “So what is it that you need to tell me?”

“Pastor, I am sure you have told others, you need to take one day at a time and give others time as well. The truth is that your cancer was in the other testicle. I took some tissue to see how close it was to your penis. The tests showed it was into the penis as well. We checked further and cancer had not spread any further.”

“So how much did you have to take?”

“My rule is to go over a ¼ inch of into the good tissue. I did not have to go into your body, but I did remove your penis.” The pain killer began to wear off, as she checked my bandage. “Considering it was more than you or I wanted and expected, it went well. I believe we got all cancer, and I don’t think we need any other treatments at this time. But we can talk about that or second opinions if you want tomorrow or the next day if you want. Do you have any questions or would you like me to explain things in more detail?”

“I am sure you did your best, but can I ask why we were surprised?”

“We found more than what showed up on the tests the doctor had done. It is possible it wasn’t detectable then; sometimes it is just the wrong angle and did not show up. Yesterday’s scan results were as you know lost. They probably would have warned us what to expect. When I got in there it was obvious we had not seen it all, and when I explained that to your family they were in agreement with your decision to get it all with this surgery. I am sorry and I know it is quite a shock.”

“So if I understand what you are saying from the waist down I have lost my maleness; …well I guess that means I am not a man.”

“You are still a man and between taking hormones and plastic surgery there are things we can do to help you.”

“I suspect there is no rush about such decisions as things won’t change much for a few days.” We visited for a while, then the doctor left and my wife and other daughter returned. It was an hour before they stepped out to eat, and I fell asleep. Nurse Ashley was there when I woke along with a note from my wife and daughters. They stopped back, and found me sleeping they thought it would be well for me to rest for the night.

Nurse Ashley was again checking my bandages and cleaning me up. I joked, “Well I am not 16 but I got parts of both challenges.”

Ashley with a sense of compassion that I felt, “I am sure it's quite a traumatic surprise, but I am glad they were able to get it all. How are you feeling now?”

“I see they changed my IV so I expect I am not eating tonight.”

She said, “It's just liquids for now, but you can have a nutrition drink if you would like.” We made small talk for a while as she finished with the bandages.

“Have you stuck with me again tonight,” I teased her.

“Unless you want to request another nurse;” I fell asleep before she left the room. It was 11:30 p.m. when I woke as another nurse was draining my bag. She did not talk, though I tried to get a conversation going. I requested a drink when Ashley came back. She too drained my bag. It was a mixture of blood, urine, and drainage. Ashley was happy I was taking fluids. “The good sign is that there is no temperature or sign of infection. I suspect it is just time before the drainage stops.” I found out her sister Jamie who was sixteen and was having a hard time as a teenager.

I said, "Too bad because if I was a 16-year-old girl Jenny was going to be my first choice of names.”

“I was thinking Jamie as you reminded me of my sister.”

“So now I don’t remind you of her?”

“That is right, you are 60 something, a good pastor and definite man.”

I said, “Thanks for the encouragement.”

“I told you I remembered seeing you as a pastor and I am quite emphatic about you having impressed me.”

I asked her, “Well what could I have expected if I woke up as a 16-year-old, teenage girl.”

“Well, instead of just needing to heal, you would have a dramatic life change ahead of you. If you were as cute as you are handsome, you would have a whole mess of problems.” We both laughed and visited some more. She shares it would be interesting to see how hard it would be for a male to make the adjustment.

I fell asleep again and woke as she was draining my bag. She explained the charge nurse had checked it. Another IV bag had been replaced. She asked if there was something confidential that I wanted to talk about. She seemed more puzzled when I said no. I did complain about being hot and she verified my temp was up but not alarming. The charge nurse started to get on her about staying near my room.

I said, “She hasn’t been in that much, but if my asking questions puts her in trouble, we have a bigger problem.”

“Well, she shouldn’t be second-guessing your case. I do not want her attention giving you any undue alarm.” I questioned about the alarm caused by asking about a temp. Ashley was back in at 1:00. While she wasn’t saying anything, I saw the concern on her face.

I still felt warm, in fact, warmer than before. “Not to get you in trouble for asking questions, but what does someone need to do without creating a problem for you to get another nurse or doctor to give a second opinion?"

Ashley said, “My mother is the best nurse I know, but she works another section of the hospital during the day.”

“If it is not too much trouble could you contact your Mom or I am going to ask for my doctor again.”

She said, “Ask for your doctor again?”

“When I woke up about nine and I asked that my doctor is called. They said they would if they thought it was necessary."

Ashley called her mother and while there seemed to be a concern; it was suggested just that Ashley watch me closely. But as she was going to check my bandage the Charge Nurse came in to do it and excused Ashley. I asked for Dr. Denise more emphatically to be called. And I asked while the Charge Nurse was there if Ashley could stay after her shift at my request and expense.

The Charge Nurse stated Ashley could stay until they heard back from Dr. Greene. It was 1:30 that Ashley was excused as Dr. Denise was said to be on her way. It was after 3:00 a.m. when Dr. Denise showed up and between the fever and sedation, I was not very mindful of her presence.

It was about 7:00 a.m. when I began to fully awake, but people noticed a change. There's a time of about 15-30 minute lapse of time, and I hear but partial statements: “He's now a…”, “he has continued to lose …”, “she appears to be younger…” “Things appear to… stabilizing…” “a different person.” I heard my wife’s voice but when I woke up she wasn’t there. I asked, “What has happened?” but it was someone else who was asking my question.

“We are not sure, but there is a change we can’t explain,” said Dr. Denise. “Pastor, can you confirm it is you I am talking to?”

“Who were you expecting “Little Bo Peep?” I heard a woman speaking in my place.

Another nurse spoke in the background, “It would be easier to explain.”

“Who is talking for me?”

“She doesn’t recognize her own voice,” said the nurse.

I spoke up again, “Are you saying that is my voice?” Dr. Denise excused others, but my daughters stayed. “Bob this will be hard to hear or accept but you appear to have become a young woman. Another strange and explainable thing is there is no scar or sign of your heart surgery or your other previous surgeries or injuries.”

Without thinking I spoke up and heard the girl say, “Am I 16?”

Dr. Denise and my daughters were all shocked. “Why would you ask that?”

I hear the woman say, “I don’t know; it just came out.”

“Dad that would make you younger than us,” said one of my daughters with a bit of irritation in her voice.
“What did your Mom say?”

She said, “It isn’t my husband and I am not raising another daughter. But she will change her mind about the daughter if you would cooperate.” The fact I had lost the scar from my heart surgery as well as having lost my penis and testicles made it harder for my wife to accept or believe it was really me in the hospital bed.

“I haven’t seen me, but if I am not her husband, neither am I her daughter.” Strangely, I was getting used to the teenage girl talking.

Aubrey asked, “Dad what made you say, ‘16’? You seem to know something.”

“Nurse Ashley and I joked about which was harder ‘being a 16-year-old girl or a 61-year-old man having this surgery’.”

“That doesn't make sense,” said another nurse.

“No more or no less sense than this,” responded Dr. Denise.

Norma would not come back in and I decided to limit visitors. Dr. Denise talked to me and I am sure visited with Ashley, but Ashley did not come back as I hoped. A Psychiatrist, the hospital president, and lawyer all came to visit me. The latter two wanted me to sign papers stating I disavowed the hospital made any mistakes. I did ask several about the IVs I received.

I learned indirectly, the patient who was to occupy the room after me. Was to have had sexual reassignment surgery and therapy. The hospital stated that that person’s records were confidential and that they had verified that no medicine or treatments between us was confused or improperly used in my case. Unfortunately like my scan the day of surgery, some information had been lost in the computers.

Dr. Denise came in late at night to talk to me and suggested I protect my rights, get a settlement and to get away before I became a freak show. I asked if I would be able to get enough to help me get a new life by asking for about $50,000-$100,000.

Denise said I needed to think in much bigger terms and to separate out her practice, the other doctor, herself, the hospital, pharmacy, etc. The next day I asked for $5 million from Dr. Denise, her partner, and their joint practice. I asked for $25 million from both the hospital and two pharmaceutical companies.

During the next two weeks, I was to either be fully a patient or in the extended care unit connected with the GYN department. Visits from my wife drastically fell off the first week and finally became only by phone. She apologized to me through a note that she was grieving the death of her husband without the benefit of a funeral. The hospital officially reported for the benefit of my wife and churches that “Bob ceased living on the twelfth of July.”

My daughters Aubrey and Beth continued to visit and stayed in communication with me. But both increasingly felt a need to pull away out of concern and loyalty to their mother and the fact our connection seemed to be limited to past memories.

I settled for $2 million apiece from the two doctors and $12 million apiece from the pharmaceutical companies and $15 Million from the hospital. I threatened way more and plenty of embarrassment if it went further. Out of the $43 million, I gave some $10 million to my family with the stipulation and amounts not be challenged. I gave $12 million to designated medical mission programs over ten years, and the remainder to cover taxes, go into a non-profit foundation and myself.

It was near the end of that week, I realized I needed help. Help in making my transition, but I had no idea about whom to turn to. It was Friday when I asked to go out of the hospital and realized I needed a name and clothes for a girl. I asked Dr. Denise, if she, Ashley and I could meet somewhere for lunch. Ashley helped me to dress as the girl I became. Ashley was the first to realize I had dressed as a girl before. It had been some time, but yes I had dressed as a girl before in secret.

However, this time when I slipped on a bra; I could feel my breasts going into them. I felt like a girl putting on panties. I wanted to wear jeans feeling it would be awkward to wear a skirt as I wanted too. Ashley said, "The skirt would remind you to walk and behave like the girl you've become."

The skirt wasn’t very short, but neither was it long. It showed the shape of a young woman which I privately enjoyed. Ashley helped me with my make-up but we kept it simple. Ashley, Dr. Denise and I did some banking opening up three accounts of $150,000 each in different banks. I quickly had great credit as well as three different platinum gold credit cards. The next stop was to a beauty salon, where Ashley helped me to find the image of a new me and appropriate for a 16-year-old teenage girl. I had no idea what I should look like apart from my daughters and wife.

I wanted to change my hairstyle from the simple ponytail I had while in the hospital. I also requested the shaping the eyebrows. Ashley and Denise were surprised by how it greatly the hairstyle Ashley chose, changed my appearance. I was loving the feminine look I was picking up. Off to the mall shopping for new clothes, I could wear. The clothes I chose for me were noticeably different from my immediate family.

Ashley and I both stayed with Dr. Greene that night. I decided to stay there until I found a home or found a living arrangement. I felt overwhelmed with being a girl. Once I broke down drying that I needed a family and time to grow up as a girl. We talked about my living possibilities, but Dr. Denise was not sharing something until I insisted. She shared about her sister’s family. There were two parents, and two daughters: All who were as pretty as they were nice. The youngest also Denise was about my age maybe a year older. Carol was in college and lived at the college most of the year. We continued shopping, talking as girls, as well as the situation.

I returned to a hospital for tests to detect any possibility of continued changes or signs of transformation back to my male self. I had the next two days alone which was driving me crazy, but I realized Dr. Denise had mentioned her Sister’s name at one time, where they lived and niece Denise’s last name as Miller. So I went in search and called them on the phone. “Mrs. Beth Miller, I am one of Dr. Greene’s assistant and she wanted me to call and confirm your thoughts on Marcia coming to live with you.”

“I talked with Denise just this morning that I had talked with my girls and Ed and we would like to give it a try. …We hope it will work out and she will want to stay with us. Do you know if she would be willing to use our name? If she is willing, we can receive her formally into our family without much fuss. It will be interesting to have someone with so much knowledge and yet so little experience in being a girl. Do you think she will be interested in that?”

“I am sure she would, I am very touched that you would open your house and hearts like that. What if I, she disappoints you?”

“Can I ask who’s calling me? What is your name? ...Is this Marcia?”

“I am sorry, I was just worried that no one in their right mind would take me in and now I shoot myself. I am sorry, I understand, I blew it. I should have trusted you and Denise. Now I am going to lose the one possibility I had.” I was trying to hang up when I heard.

“Marcia, Marcia please relax! Are you still there…” I acknowledged I was, “You and I need to meet so you can relax, and we can get to know each other.” I did not know it but Beth had texted Denise and she had just come in and was now behind me.


“I am not sure if I should be really angry with you or…” Denise hugged me, and I felt like a little girl being comforted.

“Let’s get packed, I think we should get you to your new home sooner than later.” It was surprising how much I had collected as a girl of 16, but surprised how little I had for my life as a 61-year-old man.

I had a lot of great memories and was proud of my ministry and happy with my life, especially my family. But I had not taken things from my past as they would be hard to explain.

I slept at Denise’s one last night. When we flew out it was like leaving one life behind and beginning anew as a girl. I thought as we went to claim our luggage, I still had two hours before beginning a new chapter of my life. With Dr. Denise, I still hadn’t stepped away from being a man in my mind.

But then there was a voice and a person with the appearance similar to Denise’s but a generation younger. A young Denise was upon me, engulfing me in a warm hug. “Hi sis, I hope you don’t mind boys looking at you,” she said.

I asked, “Why do you say that?”

“Aunt Denise says you’ve been a Tomboy, but I say tomboy or not the boys are going to find you very cute. My experience is that some girls like that find the attention they get a bit hard to take.”

“Your Aunt is right; I am not terribly used to boys giving me attention. I guess I am not very used to being a regular girl. My parents and I were in an accident; they died and it was just a couple of weeks ago, I kind of woke up to be being a girl. I remember a lot of things, from usually being around adults. I kinda feel like a grown-up, without much experience being a girl.”

Denise said, “Mom says she knows things about you from Aunt Denise. She thinks we will all have fun as you grow into the new you. Have you gone out with a boy before or been kissed?” I couldn’t believe it but we were just getting into the car at the airport. Mr. Miller would be driving Carol’s car as Beth Miller, Dr. Denise, Denise and Carol and I would all be riding together. Beth saved me from Denise’s last question telling her to give me a rest.

Carol asked, “She can rest after answering the questions.” I sat between my two sisters as we pulled out in the car. If I was a sixteen-year-old boy and not a brother, I would have thought I was in heaven. As it was I was sixteen, but a girl with two sisters and something told me it was still like being in heaven because I was now kind of their sister.

We were no sooner on the road, away from the airport and Carol began to pull off her bulky top. I am sorry, but that airport was way too cool and now I am too hot. Dr. Denise turned around to see Carol, Denise and to watch me. Carol is not only a very good looking college girl, but she is also well endowed. She had a shiny lightweight top to replace what she was wearing. The new top also had a nice low cut front. “So what do you think?” I was sure the question was pointed to me though I wasn’t exactly sure what she was asking. She realized she embarrassed me. “I am sorry; I didn’t mean to embarrass you.”

“I am not so embarrassed by seeing you as I am surprised that you are treating me like one of the family. I guess I am embarrassed that you are so comfortable with me.”

“What happens if Denise or I pop into your room as sisters?”

I asked, “What do you mean?”

We were home and Carol took me by the hand and pulled me to her room. “You will be sharing my room while I am home for the summer, especially while Aunt Denise is here.” Denise and Carol both had gotten out shorts and a change of tops. They were soon down to their panties and bras.

I gulped as I was opening my suitcases and was looking for a pair of shorts. I had taken off my skirt when Denise and I both saw my period had started. Denise recognized it right away. I, on the other hand, was amazed and wondered if it was part of my surgery.

“Aunt Denise, Marcia’s having her period and she is acting like it something unusual is happening.” Aunt Denise showed up with a smirk on her face. Beth too was there bringing a towel for me to sit on.

Dr. Denise explained I had some minor surgery and probably was unsure of what was happening. “Marcia, it seems to be your period returning. I suggest you take a shower, clean up and use a napkin as we are not sure how strong they will be from now on. You will just need to relearn what your body is doing now.”

Denise spoke up, “Your period is just starting so maybe we can compare notes later.” Everyone else thought that was funny, I lightly giggled but was not sure at what. Denise took me by the hand and showed me to the bathroom she shared with Carol. Without thinking I stripped down and was pleased when Denise shared I was cute with no need to apologize for how I was endowed. I thanked her and almost gave her a hug.

“She, in turned, embraced me, “It’s okay we are a hugging family and it will take more than a little period to scare me off.” I sat and went pee then jumped into the shower. Denise had stayed in and we visited. She helped to dry my hair and brushing it out as I dried the rest of me.

“You are pretty, but you don’t seem comfortable with that. I am not going to push, but I would like to be your sister and if you ever want to talk about things I would like to be here for you.”

“I would like to be your sister too, but as you can see I am having trouble stepping into my new life. It is like I am blest to have a neat family who loves and accept me. I don’t see how I can be cute and have a period at the same time.” I began to cry, and Denise wrapped her arms around me.

She sat me down and continued working on my hair. She powdered my panty before I was to put it on. “Would you like to use a napkin or a tampon and a shield?’ “I’m not sure what do you think?” “Like Aunt Denise said you’re not sure what to expect so I suggest a full-size napkin. I will get one from Mom’s bathroom.” She got two, one to be kept in my purse for later. Then she handed me one of her shirts. It was just a little snug but I looked great in it. “That is one of my pretty period skirts. It makes me look nice when I don’t feel so pretty.”

While I was with Denise, I felt pretty. Aunt Denise was going to take me for a walk. It was a new experience having cars slow down as they passed by. Something Aunt Denise made sure I notice. “What are you going to do when one of those cars stops and a guy asks you out?”

“More importantly right now is, how long can I expect this period to last? Were the cramps I felt this morning from the plane ride or being a girl?” Aunt Denise smiled and commented on knowing what was important. Carol and Denise drove around as they wanted to take me shopping. I got a nice pair of sandals as well as one for every day. I got some running shoes as I was told we would be out and running in the morning. I got a few feminine care products as well as something to help with the cramps. I was ready for a nap as we got home, but Beth told the others to help Aunt Denise in the kitchen. Mom Miller wanted to have a talk with me.

“My sister shared about your situation and I can’t say it is easy to believe, but two things I know and a third I hope to know soon. 1) I can trust my sister to be honest with me; 2) If she were to lie to me she would have made a more believable story; 3) she says you are one of the nicest people and soon you will hopefully be my third daughter. If you were 61 and are now 16 I am afraid I will more than once be intimidated in telling you what to do. But since you are a 16-year-old girl living in our house you will be treated like a daughter.”

I told her, “I have had my own 16-year-old daughters, so I understand your rule. I will try my best, but between so many changes and mood swings that I have experienced, I hope I am not more bother than I am worth. I am not sure what I should call you but if it is okay to call you Mom or mother that would seem to go with Denise and Carol calling me sis.”

"What would you as Marcia like to call me and why?”

I don’t know where it came from for I didn’t see it coming, but I quickly choked with tears and said, “Part of me is a sixteen-year-old girl feeling like 10 and I am afraid you will be offended or think I am a creep if I call you Mom.” I broke into tears crying as Beth’s warm arms drew me in. “I will be honored to be your Mom. Denise said there’s a little girl in there and it does my heart good that you are comfortable with me.”

“You will be staying in with Carol for now, if it is alright with Carol. You will use it as your room until she is home for the holidays. We have a guest room but I would like to keep it as such and for my projects.”

It was lunch time and while I had a small sandwich, I was busy listening to others all the while trying to stay awake. Mom asked Denise and Carol to show me where to nap. Denise pulled her mattress into Carol’s room, and Carol put on sheets, a couple of pillows and a comforter. She gave me a girly nightshirt and encouraged me to keep my panty on.

I was soon ready for a nap but she said there were things to do first. She took me into their bathroom and helped me clean off my makeup and then helped me to pin up my hair. She let me go to the bathroom on my own, but when she asked about my napkin, we decided I needed to use a fresh one. She saw puzzlement on my face taught me. You are right that is too bulky to flush, so she showed me how to wrap and dispose of the old one. She handed me a tampon and a panty shield, they might be just a bit more comfortable and effective as you sleep.

She had me lay down and handed me a doll and kissed my forehead. I looked at the doll as she left wondering why she gave it to me. I drew it to me and snuggled my cheek against it as I turned on my side and was quickly asleep. Carol shook me awake and asked if I rested well. “Was Penny any bother as you slept?”

“How did you know her name was Penny?” Carol looked in amazement as the name I had chosen for my doll was the name Carol had given to her many years before. “I named her Penny because of that saying a Penny for your thoughts.”

“Wow you remember sayings from years ago; I think you’re going to be a fun addition to the family.” Mom and Aunt Denise were both amused as Carol told them about me and my doll Penny. Aunt Denise and I went to check my bleeding. I thanked her for sharing her family and finding me a home.

"My sister and her girls have quickly taken you in. I credit that to your spirit. You seem more like a willing participant in all that has happened to you instead of a bitter victim."

“It may seem strange and even creepy to some, but it is like an answer to prayer. I always thought it would be neat to be a girl/woman. I liked the tenderness, pretty things and wondered about giving birth or nursing a child. To me being a girl seems way more exciting than hitting a home run or scoring a touchdown.”

Denise gave me a hug and thanked me for sharing. “It takes more than you can imagine, I hope you know you won’t be living a dream, but real life.”

We were out running in the morning when Aunt Denise waved good-bye as she passed by on her way back to the airport. I stopped in my tracks but was engulfed by my two new sisters. Denise shared “She is special, but the good news is now she is now your Aunt and you will see her again.” I was sad because I had selfishly gone off running, just presuming Dr. Denise could wait until I got back.

Denise asked about my period which was now down to a spot or two. Mom had put out a pair of short shorts and I put them on without a fuss as it was a hot day. I was planning to stay at home. Two friends of Denise’s Angie and Sue came over and I was asked about going to play miniature golf.

It sounded like fun and the girls said it was more fun as doubles and I readily agreed. “Your teammate will be the guy you are with. I think his name is Jeff. He’s Matt cousin so if you are really nice to him maybe he will come to visit more often.” Denise and the others enjoyed my expression as I realized guys were involved.

Denise told me to grab my purse as we needed to get going. I shared I needed to change clothes, but Denise smiled and said there was no time. “But what will he think when he sees me like this?” Angie said, “If he is a red-blooded guy he will be very pleased and he might even thank God for answering his prayers.” I didn’t think that was so funny, but from my past, I knew it was probably true. Matt was a guy that Denise often dated and he was and I quote “a hunk, athletic and with a good head on his shoulders.”

Jeff, in contrast, was very similar, about an inch shorter and not readily available as he lived over 20 miles away. We rode in Angie’s car and drove around the arcade/miniature golf course once making sure the guys were there though we were over five minutes late. I had pointed out a parking place the first time around, and Denise told me to relax and not get my pants too hot.

While the other girls had on either shorts or jeans I was the only one in short shorts and it did not go unnoticed. Matt quickly came to Denise and shared “I guess I should have known your sister would also be a hot looking woman.”

He then introduced Jeff who kindly asked if he could give me a hug instead of shaking my hand. His warm body from standing out in the sun and his strong arms caught me by surprise as I felt a bit of electricity go through my body.

We played as one foursome and the other girls and guys did the same. I had automatically reached for a longer putter, one more appropriate for Bob. Between noticing my painted toenails when I looked down and being on a date with a guy, my concentration the first few holes was not very good. It was the eighth hole when I finally had a good shot that went in the hole. I quickly turned around and gave Jeff a big hug and a little kiss before I realized what I was doing. I apologized but Jeff joked and said he hoped I continued to hit the ball so well.

The next hole I had a tough shot that went in. Jeff suggested I shouldn’t jinx my streak as he opened his arms for another hug. This time he returned the kiss. Denise suggested I should redo my lipstick so I would leave a mark if I had another good shot. She did her lips and the two guys had no less than three marks each by the end of eighteen holes.

Matt thought it was cute for Jeff to be so decorated, but was surprised that Denise had done it to him. Jeff wanted to hit golf balls on a simulated driving range; I agreed to watch but Jeff insisted I try to hit some. Jeff had a nice swing and I was in need of some instruction.

I tried a few times just listening to his directions, and then he came behind me and did things from holding my hips in place to helping me in bringing my arms back and driving through properly. I had been the one once or twice who did that. Now a boy was doing it to me.

I could smell the scent of musk and that he must have showered earlier. He had just enough whiskers I knew it was a guy’s face next to mine. I liked it and I wondered if I should or not. I am truly Jess and this is now normal or I am an older guy and this should be creeping me out.

Jeff took me over to a concession stand and the woman in front of us had two small children and one could not see to order and did not want his mom ordering for him. I picked him up and held him resting him a bit on my hip. He looked to see who was helping him and being surprised he said “Wow”. I suggested he choose what he wanted.

Mom said they couldn’t get too much. And then we found out six moms had come taking out their children but did not realize how much things cost of active the kids were. She explained their husbands were deployed overseas. I turned to Jeff and said I know we would be honored to help you have a good night.

I asked Brian what he wanted. He got a big pretzel and a medium Coke. He wanted a large one. Jeff bought for her other child. I phoned Denise and the whole group chipped in at help out. Mom shared that the women were leaving in about 15 minutes and we coaxed them to give us and they an extra half hour.

Little Brian wanted to go on a ride called the lovers’ ride in went around forward and backward and gently up and down. We got the guys to help out taking the kids and their moms on the ride. I went and talked to the arcade manager about the moms and kids and their dads being deployed.

He made things at half price. I bought 100 tickets and we distributed them through the group. Come the time the mom’s needed to go, the manager asked if there was anything else he could do and we suggested a little keepsake like a tee-shirt or stuffed animal. They did that and gave each mom a complimentary pass good for them and their husbands when they returned home.

Tears were flowing all around. Susan Brian’s mom asked one request of me. Could you give Brian a kiss; he thinks you are his princess. I redid my lipstick and when Brian came over I gave him a big kiss on his cheek. “Thanks, Jessie! Mom, could you take a picture of it that I could send to dad?” Jeff joked he was jealous.

The manager thanked us and everyone agreed it was a great night. After we were alone I took Jeff’s hand and walked about ten feet away. “I want you to know I think you are really special and I thank you for sharing our night.”

With that, I stood on my tiptoes, placed my arms around his neck and gave him a big kiss. If a first kiss is supposed to be memorable this one was. Jeff lifted me up, spun me around and gently set me down. I had not experienced hot pants until that moment. Denise brought me back to reality with a piece of ice down my blouse. The worst thing was it caught in my bra and melted before I could get it out.

We stayed there until 11:00 but everyone was worn out from helping the families and having a good time doing it. Denise and I were taken home by Matt and Jeff, and Mom gave permission for them to stay awhile at the house.

Though I was still tired, I got up at 6 a.m. and went to the kitchen hoping to see Mom. “So young lady what has you up early?”

“Mom,” I started speaking at least three times.

“Whatever it is Jess, I am here for you and starting out with ‘Mom’ tells me you trust me and whatever it is, it’s important to you.”

“But it’s silly and stupid. I feel like a 12-year-old, little girl.”

“You haven’t had the benefit of growing up as a girl, so don’t be so hard on yourself. I would not put up anyone else calling my daughter ‘stupid’, and putting yourself down is not acceptable. Please just start anywhere.”

“There were just too many girl moments; I am not ready for them. I kissed Jeff, and it gave me hot pants. I helped a mom with a little boy and I was holding him up and perched on my hip as a girl would do. Brian thought I was a princess and he wanted a kiss to remember me. There was more girl stuff than I thought I would do in a year. What kind of girl gets all hot and damp on her first date?”

“From what you said and I heard last night, you did have quite a night. Don’t be too sad or surprised that most are not that exciting. You impressed your sister, Jeff and others being so down to earth and a beautiful girl in the best sense of the word.”

“Denise was honored and so happy that you helped Susan and Brian and then invited her and Matt to help out. …I suspect when you went to give Jeff a kiss, you were both surprised by what it became… MY simple comment would be don’t, apologize or feel bad about it. My suggestion would be to enjoy it and be thankful it happened.”

“I feel silly to put upon you as a mother.”

“Come here and let me give you a big hug. It might seem silly to Bob, but you’re Jessie and you had a night of a lot of firsts last night. You were darling as a real-life princess to a little boy, and hot butter to the salty first kiss of a boy who touched the passions of you as a 16-year-old girl. Honey, I guess this is why Aunt Denise suggested you be part of our family.”

I buried my head in her hug and cried like the girl I felt to be. “Thanks, Mom.” Denise came into the room, “You should be really proud and happy with yourself. I guess you surprised yourself when you kissed Jeff. Would make you feel better if I told you I was jealous?”

I began to laugh as I turned to receive Denise’s hug.

The phone rang and Denise tried to hand the phone to Mom saying Auntie is on the phone, but I grabbed it from her. “Hi Sis, I am glad you could be there for Jess.”

“Hi Aunt Denise, I am glad you had me here. I have had my first period, been a little boy’s princess, kissing a boy and a big girl cry on my Mom’s shoulder.”

I gave the phone to Mom and I am sure Aunt Denise was totally confused who was talking but so happy we shared the events with her.

Denise and I knew Mom needed to talk to her sister freely. Denise realizing I was still shaking told me to come with her. I was worried about what her mom would say, but I was rattled and Denise was in “Big Sis” mode. She pushed me into a warm shower and helped me get ready for a new day by helping me with my hair and make-up

To Be Continue

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