I didn’t complete understand why my son Noah felt like dressing in girl’s clothes – after all, I was a simple Tennessee redneck named Lyle Thorne, and I thought I was like any other “he-man” - but he was my child, I was a single dad, and thanks to guiding words from my Mama – God rest her soul – I couldn’t say no to him – or her. And Mama spent most every penny she had on creating a beautiful granddaughter where once there had been a sad, shy boy.
At age 17, Norah was beautiful, bubbly, confident, and loving – the very definition of a Southern Belle. And she was so devoted to her Mom-Mom, but after many years, Mama’s heart problems was getting progressively worse, and we all knew her time was running out on God’s green earth.
“Norah needs her mother now,” Mom whispered to me one day as she lay in bed.
“Mama, you know Abby died after Norah was born,” I replied.
“I’m talking about you – Lillian. Yes, Lily – that’s what I should have called you. You were the prettiest baby and you were often mistaken for a little girl. Now listen to me very carefully,” as she showed me some information she received in the mail from a place called “Madame Jae’s”
A seemingly mad plan was hatched a month after we buried Momma. Lyle and Noah left Chattanooga for the big city – two weeks later Lily and her daughter came back, forever changed by their joint experience. My life as a woman – and as Norah’s mother – wasn’t always easy, but my little girl (who was 2” taller than her former dad!) threw her love and energy into helping me become who I should have been all along.
It was her encouragement that led to my comfort level in showing off my figure, and even in venturing into the dating world. We even double dated, and in the powder room, she teasingly reminded me to “act like a lady, Momma. “ I guess in that moment, our roles were reversed – how ironic. We grew closer as mother and daughter – thanks to our dear Momma.
And then one day, we got a very interesting letter from Madame Jae…
Dearest Lily and Norah,
All of us here at the Salon truly miss your sparkling presence, and it was truly beautiful the way you honored your mother/grandmother in the way you carried yourselves as beautiful women.
Madame Jae’s Enterprises continues to grow its brand of family femininity and to that end, I have a wonderful proposal for the two of you, along with several other mother/daughter duos. Please accept our offer for complimentary airfare to visit us again the week of March 10. You by RSVP by phone or email. I truly hope to see both of my darling girls very soon,
With Love….. MJ
“Oh gosh, Momma, it will be so great to see Madame and all of the ladies there. Our new friends, some of the other MJ girls, and…”
“And those handsome J-Clubbers… Norah.”
“Momma… there you go again with your new hormones running wild…”
“Hush, sugar. Don’t play innocent with me young lady. Now if you’ll hand me the phone, we’ll call Madame to reserve our new adventure!”