After having our snacks and I my tea, I told Jack he could go play if he wished to. I started cleaning the house and the laundry. Carrying the baskets to the basement was a chore in itself. At least Jack was neat and made sure his slightly soiled clothing was in the laundry hampers. After a couple of trips to the basement and grabbing myself tall lemonade I noticed it had become unusually quiet in the house. I thought maybe Jack had laid back down to take a nap which he did on occasions. Just to make sure I crept to his room and opened the door. Jack was not in his bed, nor was he beside of it. I noticed Bud was also missing. I ran to the back door to look in the back yard to see if maybe Jack had gone out to play with Bud there. He wasn't there either. At this time Panic did start to rear its ugly head.

I ran to the front door and stepped out onto the porch. Looking up and down the street. Then I heard some giggling on the porch next door. I looked over and there was Jack, Bud and the little girl next door. Jack was still in his dress as was Bud. They were playing with the girl's dolls and a couple of Jack's plastic cars. I called out to Jack, Jack you should tell me if you are going outside. He peeking up over the banister said, sorry mommy, but I have seen her out playing and she looked like she needed to a friend to play with. The little girl stood up and said Jack is fun to play with can he please stay with me, I promise we won't go anyplace but here on my porch. I looked over to the both of them; they seemed to be enjoying each others company so why should I interfere. So I told him to just stay clean and to be a good boy. He said he would and ask if maybe the girl could sometimes come over to our house to play.

I told him maybe, I would need to talk to her mother first. He said Okay mommy. I went on back into the house and sat down. I began to think here was my son out in a dress and with another child. They never said anything about how he was dressed, at least the girl didn't. I also thought of what would the girl's mother think of a boy in a dress playing with her daughter. I hoped the mother wasn't like my mother or the clerk in the store. Maybe like the lady in Walmart she just saw it as innocent childhood play. I did begin to think how unfair it was for children to not be allowed to explore their world. That not everything had to be in black or white, but included all the colors of the rainbow. Jack and the girl seemed to be so at ease with each other, is it we the adults that instilled in them all the biases they learn.

Chapter 9

I went back to completing the laundry and the minor touch ups around the house. I had just refreshed my lemonade and sat down on the lounger in the front room, when I heard a knock on the door. It was the little girl next door with Jack and a woman. I got up and answered the door. Hi, she said, I am Mrs. Johnson, I was wondering if your son could go swimming in my pool in my back yard. Jack standing there in his dress said. Mom it isn't too deep and Kellie will be with me, please can I. The girl had changed into a little girls pink bikini swimsuit. I told the mother that jack didn't have a swimsuit for this year yet not wanting to mention his dress he was wearing. Oh that's no problem, she said, He can just borrow one of Kellie's, she has 5 of them. Sometimes Robin forgets hers when she comes over. And don't worry I will be in the backyard with them, I need to get my tan started this year. For some unknown reason I agreed to let Jack do it. Maybe because of what my mom had said or that clerk at the store. He can even have a snack at my house, she continued. I said that will be fine, but if he gets to be too much just send him home. She smiled and said he has been the perfect playmate with Kellie today. I am sure he won't be a bother. I said okay and they headed back to their home next door.

I was happy Jack made a real friend. I went back to my lounger and sat back down. The quiet overtook me and I wound up taking a nap. Lets face it daytime television is just plain boring. The buzzer on the dryer woke me letting me know the final load was done drying. I got up and went and retrieved the clothes, folding the ones for Jack's room and mine. Then taking them to the rooms. After placing mine in my room I went to Jacks room. Jack's window was open and I could hear the laughter of the children. So I peeked out his window and watch them playing in the pool. The mother was sitting on a chaise lounge applying some lotion to her arms. I looked back to the children and saw another little girl was there with Jack and Kellie. The other girl was in a one piece blue swimsuit. Then I looked at Jack. He too was wearing a little girl's swimsuit. It had a green top and an aqua bottom with a print of a little girl monkey on the front, it also had spaghetti straps that went over the shoulders. He looked so cute in it. He was laughing and splashing the water at the girls, they in turn returning the splashing in good turn. He was happy playing with the girls. I looked for Bud Bear and didn't see him right off, it turns out he was laying on the other chaise next to the girl's doll I had seen earlier.

Hi mommy I heard him call out to me. He had seen me watching him. I called back down to him Are You Having fun? Oh yes!! He exclaimed. Mrs. Johnson hearing me said for me to come down and visit. I said okay just give me a minute.

Chapter 10

I went and changed into a pair of shorts and a light blouse. Locking my door on the way out. I entered through the gate on the side of the house and approached the pool. The kids were having fun splashing around then going into a round of Marco Polo. It was great that Jack was enjoying himself. He looked so cute in the bathing suit, occasionally like the girls adjusting the seat of the swimsuit around his little butt. I placed the dolls and Bud on the table and sat down in the chaise next to Mrs. Johnson. We started chatting mostly about the recent increases in weather temps and the neighborhood. Then out of the blue she ask me how long had Jack been wearing dresses.

I was a bit stunned but answered he had only just recently started. She said really he seems so natural in them. Then the real stunner was when she revealed to me that Kellie and Robin were in fact boys. She said Robin had been in dresses since he was 2 and Kellie since he was 5. I'd have never guessed that those two girls I saw were boys. She went on to tell me they were cousins. They bought the houses they live in together at the same time. They had wanted to buy my house but before I bought it the old man refused to sell it. After he had passed away his daughter sold the house to me. I was in shock; remember I had seen one of the girls er boys going to school with Jack in her dresses or skirts. I had to ask, how did you get him to go to school in a dress or dressed as a girl?

The school, she informed me, was a special Montessori School. They teach the children more of the senses than that of the rigid public schools of boys this way and girls that way, they encourage a self-education of themselves, to be themselves. The dress code is totally neutral meaning the boys can wear dresses just as the girl can wear pants to school, however they still keep the bathroom facilities separate. So your saying, I said, that if Jack wanted to he could wear a dress to school. Yes, he could. She answered. I thought to myself what would my mother think of this information. I wondered if her biases was what influenced her to send me to an all-girls school. I thought back to the day I registered jack at school then recalled there were several students with boy haircuts but I had thought maybe there had been a head lice infestation and the girls had had their hair cut short. All the kids were neatly dressed in dresses and pants. I also thought if this is why the kids there always get along so well, I had never heard of a bully problem at the school and it was rated high on the state testing required by all the schools. I was learning a lot from her I had never realized before.

Chapter 11

We must have chatted the whole afternoon. I was intrigued about the school system too. Boys dressed as what I was raised to think only girls wore to school, girls being allowed to wear their pants and shirts like the boys, it was eye opening for sure. I was glad I had chosen the school now. Maybe this was why Jack's imaginary friend had been a girl or why he had asked for some things I previously thought to be just for girls. It was getting late and I still had dinner to prepare for Jack. I told Jack to go get his clothes and told Mrs. Johnson I would return the swimsuit as soon as I washed it. She said not to bother that Jack could have it, Kellie had more than enough swimming gear. Jack came back out of the house carrying his dress and picked up Bud Bear and we went on home.

Once home I told Jack to go change out of his swimsuit. He actually skipped to his room and a few minutes later came back in his camp shorts and a cartoon character T-shirt, Scooby-Doo If I recall. Did you have fun today? I ask. Yes, mommy I had a lot of fun. he responded. He continued by saying he had hung his bathing suit in the bathroom because it was all wet still. Mommy, he ask. Kellie had a skirt on, is that the same as a dress. I explained to him that a skirt was more like the shorts he was wearing except instead of two leg holes it only had one. That you could wear different tops with a skirt like his T-shirt could be worn with pants or his shorts. So, he said. I could wear my T-shirt with a skirt then. Yes I answered. He looked at me smiling and said then why don't boys have skirts? I replied I really hadn't thought about it. He seemed to accept my answer but there was more on his mind. Mom could we get me some skirts too and some for Bud Bear. I told him maybe we could see about that. He said okay. Then he said Kellie wants to trade me my dress for one of her skirts, can I do that - we are the same size. I told him maybe if we go over there tomorrow I would tell Kellie's mom and see what she says first. He said that would be okay but don't forget about it. I promised I wouldn't.

I went on and made our dinner for the night, just some spaghetti and meatballs and a light salad with breadsticks. I went to the front room to get Jack for dinner and he was all curled up with Bud in his arms sleeping, he, I think, had played himself out.

Chapter 12

The next morning when I woke up I heard some noise in the kitchen, mostly silverware rattling. Hoping it wasn't a burglar I crept out to see. There was Jack already in his dress. He had Bud sitting next to the pastry I had picked up from the store. He was making breakfast, not just for him but me as well. He turned and jumped - I must have startled him. Morning Mommy, he said. I have our breakfast all done except your coffee, I don't know how to make that. I told him that's okay I'd put on the coffee pot. He had made just cold cereal and juice, no milk for the cereal so I got that for him and poured it on the cereal. We set it on the table and ate together while my coffee perked. Can I go play with Kellie and Robin today? he ask. I told him that would be okay if their moms said it was. He then ask if since school starts in a week could he wear his dress to school. I let him know I hadn't decided if it would be appropriate yet. He said why, Robin and Kellie wear theirs out and to school. I told him we would discuss that later just enjoy his the rest of his summer. He said okay mommy and went back to finishing his breakfast.

I finished mine and got my coffee and a piece of the apple Danish. Bud had somehow got to the table with Jack. Jack finished his breakfast and put the bowls in the dishwasher along with the silverware. He came out and told me he was gonna go to his room and change. I was just turning on the morning news show on HLN. A few minutes later he came rushing down the stairs, Mom! He exclaimed. I can't find Steffie. Maybe she went out to play I told him. No mommy! She always is in my room. he said. Maybe she is just hiding under your bed. I said. Or playing hide-n-go-seek with you. Why don't you go see, check your closet and under your bed.

He said Okay and raced back to his room. I went back to listening to the news. A few minutes later he came back. Did you find her? I ask. He looked at me and had a tear in his eye. Yes mommy, he said. Was she just hiding from you? I ask. Well sort of mommy, she said she needed to go home. She ask me to always remember her because she had to go where she lived? I was confused at this so I ask Jack if Steffie said where she lived. He said yes and he began to cry. Well where was that honey? I ask. She said mommy she lives in heaven and she is an angel and was there to help me when I was alone. That now that I had friends like Robin and Kellie she had to go home. Mom I don't want her to go, he sobbed. To say I was shocked would be an understatement. Steffie was an angel. I told Jack he would always have her in his mind and would always think of her if he got sad or upset or even most happy times.

Maybe she needed to go help another little boy or girl and if you are good you will see her again in heaven someday. Really mom! He beamed. Will she always remember me? I told Him I was sure that she would.

Chapter 13

Jack crawled up on my lap and snuggled up close to me. I had to keep assuring him that Steffie wasn't really gone, but just was going to wait for him. I had heard of guardian angels but not one with a child. We sat there for a while; Jack had since stopped sniffling although his eyes were a bit still puffy. I heard a knock on the front door and ask Jack if he would see who it was. Jack got off of my lap and went to the door opening it wide. I could see it was both Kellie and Robin. Jack invited them in. They both came into the front room and said hello to me. Kellie was wearing one of dress up princess gowns, Cinderella or Snow White I think. Robin was in a plaid skirt and a pink blouse with a peter pan collar. They both looked so cute just standing there.

Jack told the girls he could not swap dresses or skirts with them unless their moms said it was okay. Robin said we can find out later at my house. Kellie not wanting to miss out said she had some things she could just give him. They all giggled at that like a bunch of school girls. They ask if 'Jackie' could come out to play with them. Correcting their pronouncing of his name I told them yes Jack could go play, but only to their homes. Robin said come on Jackie; I got a brand new doll. Jack got Bud and went out with the girls er.., boys. I decided to try to call the school to see if what I had learned was true that there were boys in dresses and or skirts at the school.

The first time all I got was a busy signal, the second time I got placed on hold. I waited for five minutes and was ready to hang up and call back when a secretary came on. I ask if I could talk with the principal or the director or someone who could give me information. The secretary ask what kind of information and I told her of what I had been told. I was turned over to an assistant to the principal. I told her what I had told the secretary. She said she would explain it to me about the policy of clothing if I wished her too. I said Yes please do. She said okay.

She began by saying that the school sees each child as an individual, a separate person, neither as a boy or a girl. We teach based on the senses of the child. For instance if a girl feels or senses she prefers to be like a boy we will teach her in that manner, the same for a boy who senses he may be more like a girl is taught like a girl. At no time is the physical gender a real consideration. So what if one day say a boy comes dressed in jeans and a shirt and the next day in a dress. I ask. She said what they adorn their bodies in is not important either as today both males and females both wear pants although few males wear skirts or dresses. We at the school make no reference to what they wear other than if the clothing is clean. All the children, if you recall, are tested at their start in our schools, they are tested not only for their academic knowledge but how they see themselves, and occasionally we even retest just to make sure that we are truly meeting the needs and senses of that child. Like if the child is 10 and reads at a second grade level he would be taught differently than that of another 10 year old reading at a 4th or 5th grade level. While all the grades have basically the same books each is differently worded so as the child understands the text. It wouldn't make sense to give that 10 year old a book he couldn't understand. So, I said. if my son Jack wanted to wear a skirt or dress to school he could. Yes! She said. And he would not receive any reprisals for it. She said as long as there were no behavior issues NO Jack would be taught just like any other child in the school. I thanked her for the information and said good-bye. Since Jack had mentioned wearing a dress or skirt to school I decided to ask him if he wanted them along with his regular clothing.

Chapter 14

Jack was outside playing with Robin and Kellie. I could hear the laughter as they did whatever they were doing, probably chasing each other. I decided to look through my catalogs that contained children's clothing. I looked at all the dresses and some were not very feminine at all. Of course there were a few of really fancy dresses all trimmed in ribbons and lace with cupped sleeves, the kind little girls wore to birthday parties or other special occasions. Then there were the plain dresses and the plaids. The plaids being in green, red, blue and brown. Those looked okay to me as Jack wouldn't look like a sissy in them. Oh god I just thought of a negative term. Was this some of my mother's teachings to me being brought forth? I swore to myself to rid myself of such negativity as clothing whether it be dresses or trousers didn't seem to influence Jack one iota. I filled out the order blank and ordered him 2 dresses and 2 of the plaid dresses. I looked at the skirts as well and they had several, some in traditional boy colors such as khaki (tan) or Navy blue. I found myself ordering Jack three of them as well. I got Jack some of the Polo shirts he liked as well that went well with the skirts. Before mailing it in though I decided to ask Jack if he wanted them for school.

Jack, Robin and Kellie came into the house just as I finished filling out the order form. They were carrying two plastic bags with them.

Mommy, he exclaimed Look at what Kellie's mom gave me. They then dumped the bags right in front of me. There were skirts like I was just about to order. Can I keep them please - mommy he said. I looked them over and decided they were just like the ones from the catalogs so I tore up the order form. I guess my question had been answered by Jack's actions. Jack picked up a bibbed skirt with an elastic back and told me he wanted to wear it to school so that he and Robin looked alike. It was tan with a banded waist band elasticized in the back and a pleated skirt portion; the bib had two brass buttons and had two straps which crisscrossed over the shoulders. Jack could wear this with one of his plain T-shirts come Monday I thought. So I agreed but he needed to go hang it up so the dress, actually jumper, didn't wrinkle. Jack ran and got a clothes hanger from his closet and brought it to me. I placed the jumper on the hanger and Jack took it to his room. When he came back he ask if he could change into one on the skirts and his T-shirt. I said sure. I expected Jack to take them to his room but he didn't he changed right there in front of his friends Robin and Kellie. Then he went to his room and put on a T-shirt with race cars on it. He actually look good in the outfit. I told him I'd take care of the rest of the clothes and he could go play. He gave me a hug and said thanks mommy. He scooped up Bud and they were off again to play.

Jack spent the rest of the week wearing the different skirts with his T-shirts. Playing with Robin and Kellie sometimes with all their cars, trucks and airplanes, other times with their dolls and bud bear. I noticed also how talkative Jack was also becoming. No longer the shy little boy I knew as his friendship with Robin and Kellie grew. On Monday he did need help with the straps to outfit he had decided to wear to school along with his tennis shoes and sport socks. He was all excited about going to school. Robin came over to walk with him to school as did Kellie. The parents had decided I found out they wanted them to be with other children at school for socialization purposes. Jack seemed to adjust better in school as well over time. He had friends now beside just Robin and Kellie; several boys came over and played with him. Some of those boys were also in skirts. He played as a boy and played as a girl and could easily switch between the two, like it was just how he felt at the time.

My mom, after I told her about how jack was doing, started again on his dressing as a girl. I had a few heated arguments with her as well on this issue. She said I was allowing the devil to dwell in my son. I told her that god had sent an angel to help him. She countered the devil hides who he is. I told her that I believed it was an angel because of Jack had only got better. At that she hung up on me on the phone. Today she absolutely refuses to visit her grandson who she says dresses as a girl, but I say he is turning out as god intended for him to be.

The End

Epilogue: A couple of days after Jack had restarted school I went into Jacks room. Bud Bear was laying there against Jack's pillow but beside Bud was an outline of an angel, wings and all. I felt suddenly at peace and knew I had done right by Jack.

All these characters and events are purely fictional and nothing should be taken as fact or any inferences drawn from them as true.
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