It’s been almost a year since I posted something. Wow, time flies when you really want to avoid something. Last week, my niece turned 18, and we held a surprise birthday party for her, and I was asked to say something. I surprised my sister and my wife when I said no. Truth be told, I got nervous due to my recent illness but more because how do you express in a few words to someone you have loved from the moment she was born literally grow up in front of you? It was a surreal experience to now know that my niece is now an adult. But what really came forth was the same urge to protect her from this world. To not have her experience the pain and growth that comes from making adult decisions. Yet, that is crazy too. For her to grow, she has to fall, has to make mistakes, has to learn the real truth of about being let down by others. If not, how would she become experienced? As family, I think its hard sometimes for others to realize how some hard it can be to let someone you love with your entire being to get hurt. So Maya honey, I stayed quiet not because I had nothing to say, but because I was too afraid to. I know you heard many say they will always be there for you, but one thing I can offer is that I will always allow you to make your own mistakes. After all, what is a favorite uncle for? Happy Birthday honey. I wish you all the happiness in the world. Just because I am quiet does not mean that you are not part of me. It just means that I am here waiting for you whenever you need something.