See this picture? It means a a lot to me. This picture is always on my bedside table as I sleep every night. The man beside that child on the roller coaster in that picture is my dad. Today is his birthday, and I wanted to share my favourite picture of the two of us.
My mom and dad have helped shape me into the young man I am today, and if my dad hadn’t worked graveyard shifts so he could spend quality time and play video games most day with me as a child, I wouldn’t be who I am right now. Why the video games? Also, you’ve probably wondered why I’m obsessed with The Legend Of Zelda.
The thing is, when I was younger, I was diagnosed with echolalia. In other words, I couldn’t exactly communicate or speak for myself without repeating what someone would voice out to me. Sometimes I would make noises instead of talking. I also had this bad hand problem to go along with it. My hands were so weak I could barely pick up a crayon. I couldn’t draw a picture or anything. My parents went to see a few specialist to get help for me. When the doctors told my parents to get me a toy that would help the muscles in my hands develop, my dad was the one who thought of buying a Nintendo 64 for me. The one game I just couldn’t put down was “The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time”.
As a kid, all I knew was that I was this guy who would make random loud noises every time I would swing my sword in the game. But every time I played that game, my hands got better, and better, and better. During that time I was also attending a special needs pre-school to try and rid me of my echolalia. Going to that school mixed with the quality time playing video games throughout the day with my dad helped my verbal communication develop quickly.
Eventually I started speaking normally like any other kid. I think it was the fact that I was learning how to verbally ask my dad to help me out in certain parts of the game. I want to dedicate not only this picture, but also this day to my dad. Without any of his unconditional love as a parent alongside with my moms, I wouldn’t be anywhere close to being the guy I am today.
I love you, dad. Happy Birthday.
Photo of Christopher and Angel. Written by Christopher for his dad, Angel. Angel is my sibling #13, the baby in our family.