14 years ago today my Dearest Angel Katerina, the world was blessed by your entry into this world we call Earth. I was the vehicle you chose to come through and grace us with your effortless beauty, kindness, humility, and love. I was young and scared when I realized I was pregnant with you. I was an intern and afraid...how was I going to be a good mother when I worked such long, crazy, and stressful hours. I woke up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat the day I found out I was pregnant from a dream. It was the night before we were all to go out and celebrate theo Reno's 30th birthday. As I was asleep, God came to me and said, "You cannot drink tonight. You are pregnant!!! You have not used the right stick. Go now and get the EPT and you will see." In my dream I went to Genovese and I bought the EPT stick and there in my dream was the answer. I was PREGNANT!!! I jumped up in bed in a cold sweat and felt relief that it was only a dream....because I was an intern. On the way to work I had to pull over and vomit in the Dunkin Donuts parking lot. I was anxious all day thinking about the dream and finally when the day ended I drove to Genovese and bought the EPT!!! I ran up the stairs and straight to the bathroom and was going to dip and run and wait....BUT the plus sign showed up instantly and I started to cry with fear. How was I suppose to do this???? No cell phones back then. I called everyone I knew at home. My mom, my aunt, my sister, my cousin, my friends....no answer!!! Teddy was in a meeting. But Reno, at Milo's then, answered and I cried to him on the phone...How was I going to do this...an intern. Finally, everyone was home and the news spread! Teddy cried and was so excited...we will do this together! My mom and dad were screaming and my mom said I am here. I will be with you. Oh Katerina, and then the vomiting started every second of the day...all night long. I felt that I was going to die. The nausea was as if I had a jug of cheap wine, on a boat, in the middle of a storm with a gastro!!! I was hospitalized with IV fluids...I could not get up and even walk to the bathroom... 9 months of feeling that I could not make it. My stomach grew and grew and the stretch marks were long, thick and purple. They are still present and represent a mother's testimony and love carrying this little human in her belly. I remember one night lying on the couch and daddy walking in from work. You had been quiet for hours as I lay there. You heard his voice and the kicking started. Daddy came over and rubbed my belly and then I felt your hand under his. We both stared at each other...he moved his hand to the other side and you reached with your other hand and pushed up. He moved it away and you stopped. He placed it up higher and I could feel you moving and once again you reached and pushed up right under his...Daddy just cried...the happy tears. At 2:00 am on January 9, 2003...you were ready to make your grand entrance. I thought I had time so I jumped in the shower and oh my God the contractions were coming every 30 seconds and I was screaming in pain trying to get the shampoo out of my eyes. Toula could hear me all the way downstairs...then I had to dry my hair because it was freezing outside...not really I had to be ready for the pictures....My hand was trembling in pain as I tried to put on eyeliner....I waited at the door screaming through the last contraction so I could make it down three flights and not wake up the neighbors. That did not work...as I made it to the top of the stairs..ten seconds later, another contraction and I was screaming the whole way down. Toula was at the window and crying...the happy tears. When we made it to the car daddy realized he HAD NO GAS!! Off to the gas station...when we made it to the hospital...the whole crew was there...my mama and papa and Kiki and Reno, Daddy's sister his papa...all waiting. My mama hid behind the wall as I was pushing but I could see her squatting and pushing and feeling pain. At that very moment I realized as I pushed and screamed that a mother always always can feel her baby's pain. Even at that vey moment... at 27 years of age, my mother was there crying by my side feeling my pain...The love of a mother is sooooo very special and it starts in the womb and is carried through life and through eternity. My love for you is so intense my dearest angel, child, friend, and teacher Katerina. My every breath and heart beat aches for your voice, for your embrace, for your knowledge, for your friendship... I ache for my Mother's love and for her arms to be wrapped around my broken heart. I ache for my papa's strength and love. My dearest Angel, I am here today and bow down in awe of your beauty that truly reflected your inner soul. Thank you for gracing our lives with a true angel and I will always say this...I prefer a life time of pain than never holding you in my arms... Reach out from Heaven and spread your wings and protect your sister and cousin. They need you and feel intense pain. I wish I could wipe away that horrible memory from your sister's mind because as a mother, watching your other child suffer is another tragedy that tests my weak heart... She cries for you every day Katerina. Use all your power and strength on your little sister. She needs you my love...until we meet again.