At 35 one believes they lived life. It was at that age that I got to this country. I am Cuban; I was born on the countryside in a small town called Bahia Honda; in the center of a numerous family. With very protective parents that raised us with good principles, they always told us that with union comes strength.

Life gives and takes. Something that marked my childhood was the day that I had to leave my family’s home, personal needs, and desires to grow and to trace my own way.

The journey was not easy. The separation from my family, siblings, and fearing the unknown.

It was worth it, my biggest lesson was understanding the real value in family.

I formed my new home far from my parents. Yet I’ve learned to keep a equilibrium. My wife and I have tried to transmit good values to our daughters. Its hard, sometimes what we try to construct within our home can possibly be destroyed with the chaos that is lived daily in the world.

2013 made me relive the time I left my parents home but this time with a new character present.

Now I understand my father’s face, his silence, his endless embrace. My oldest daughter flew off on her own adventure. She decided to study far away from home. How can I avoid it? How can I accept this? How can one survive this? I don’t have these answers. There’s a void, an infinite void, the void left by the umbilical cord; not the one that’s cut at birth but the one that endures all life long between the bond of a father and their child.

It’s a mixture of happiness, pain, and fear.

What can I do when I am no longer the protecting shield? Prepare myself!

My second daughter is preparing her wings, and she will soon fly on her own personal adventure. Now all that’s left to do is wait as a silent spectator. May their journeys take them to beautiful places. May they use their strength and values to succeed in life. And us as their mom and dad sitting there patiently in our seats, ready to help them whenever they may need us.