What a special day it was. After nine months, which seemed like nine years, we had an addition to our family: a smiley-faced, 8-pound, 3-ounce, bouncing baby girl.
I remember how quickly I learned the art of mixing formula, then setting the bottle in a pan of water on the stove, careful not to overheat it, and testing the temperature on my wrist. Holding her just right, as she exuberantly sucked the milk from the bottle, was one of the times that I could relax, stare down at her with a smile on my face and truly feel the bonding that was taking place.
Bathing was a lot of fun. She soon learned, sitting in our kitchen sink, that by slapping her little hands in the water, I soon looked as if someone had turned a hose on me. I didn't mind too much because I really enjoyed hearing her laugh. Those memories will live forever in my heart.
I should mention the fact that the baby girl was my half sister. We shared the same mother, and we were the only children in the family. Our home was quite dysfunctional, and our parents left the two of us at home alone much of the time. I learned at an early age how to survive alone, or I never would have learned how to succeed in life.
It became my responsibility to raise this little girl. Her name is Pam, and from the time she learned to talk, she has called me Bubba. Pam and I endured many troubled times together, which only strengthened our relationship despite the 15-year difference in our ages.
I was often amazed at how Pam patterned her life after me. We now live 1,500 miles apart, but we continue to remain in touch. I can think of nothing that would ever break the bonds of our relationship and the love we hold for one another.