My first memory is the first time I saw my baby brother when he came home from the hospital. I was exactly 3 years and 16 days old. I had no idea how much my life would change. From what I've been told, I stayed with my mother's parents while Mama was in the hospital having a baby. I distinctly remember standing on a chair so that I could reach the telephone to talk to Daddy. Apparently the "thing" was over, and I had a baby brother. I remember thinking, "Not yet, I don't." Being the only granddaughter on my mother's side of the family and the oldest granddaughter on my father's side of the family had made me quite spoiled. I believed I would have the last word on whether or not the baby would stay or not. no My grandparents wrapped me up in a winter coat, toboggan and mittens. It was December 16, 1968 after all and a typical North Caroline winter day ... cold! This is where my memory begins .... I distinctly remember seeing my mother, my father and a white wicker basket in the doorway to my parents' bedroom. The only thing I can remember about my father is a huge smile o his face that I thought made him look goofy and it quickly crossed my mind that I had never seen Daddy look that happy. "Oh no, this is not going to be good, is it," I thought to myself. Mama was wearing a yellow silk nightgown covered by a matching yellow housecoat. I quickly looked under the bassinet to see if she also had on yellow bedroom slippers. She did. From that moment on yellow became a significant color in my life but that's another story. When I finally looked at Mama, she actually looked scared. She was looking directly at me, and I think both of us were holding our breath. I realized just how important this moment was to my mother, and I knew I didn't want to disappoint her. I wanted her to still love me as much as she loved whatever was lying in that bassinet. The walk down the hall towards Mama and Daddy was one of the longest walks in my life. I wanted to hug Mama but the bassinet was between me and the woman who was my mother first. Strike one. "It" was already coming between me and my mom, and I wasn't a happy camper. I stopped walking and took off my mittens, which were clipped to my coat sleeves. I don't remember anyone saying a word. I looked at Daddy who was still grinning like he was singlehandedly populating the world. I looked at Mama who looked like she ate something bad. Her hair was perfect, and she had put on lipstick. I knew at that moment that my mother was the most beautiful woman in the world, and I would do anything ... anything ... to make sure she never stopped loving me. I, then, walked to the side of the bassinet. The baby looked more like a hairless rat than a human baby. He was so little. And his face was all screwed up like he was trying to laugh and cry at the same time but no sound was coming out. "Pew, what's wrong with it," I thought. He was wearing a tiny T-shirt with funny looking sleeves and a cloth diaper that looked big enough to use as a blanket. He was red all over, especially his screwed up little face. He was waving his arms and legs around as if he were trying to stop himself from falling. I leaned over him and sniffed. "He smells good, like a new toy," I thought, "Maybe this won't be so bad after all." I got up the nerve to touch him. I slowly moved one finger towards him and my mom reached out her hand as if to stop me. After making eye contact with each other, Mama stepped back but I knew that she was watching me ... and that she would be watching me for the rest of my life as long as "it" was in the same room. I lightly touched the baby on his left arm. Nothing. He didn't look at me or stop squirming. I don't know what I was expecting to happen but that definitely wasn't it. So, I tried again. I touched his leg, holding my finger against his soft skin just a little longer this time. For a split second, the baby stopped squirming. Even though he didn't look at me, I knew he felt my touch. I felt the adults in the room make a collective sigh of relief. But, I wasn't finished yet. I remember putting my mittens back on and when I had rearranged my mittens and clothes, I said ... as if I were the Queen of England ... "Okay, you can take him back now. I want a sister." I was being obstinate and knew it, and I didn't care. No one asked me how I felt about having another child in the house, and I decided that I wanted my mother and father all to myself. I shyly looked up at Mama to see her reaction. She looked hurt, and I felt like a monster. Still smiling like a maniacal clown at the rodeo, Daddy said that taking the baby back wasn't an option. I knew from the tone of his voice, if not the expression on his face, that I better not press my luck.