My dad broke his neck body surfing before I was born. He is a C 5/6 quadriplegic, which means that the nerve damage is located between his fifth and sixth vertebrae. I have never seen him stand up or walk. I can't imagine what it's like to be trapped in a body that can hardly move, and have people stare. Yet he rarely complains and acts as if nothing is wrong.
Though he won't be able to dance with me at my wedding, he will be able to make a fantastic toast. My father and I have done many things together. He is a screenwriter and we love watching movies. We always have contests trying to figure out what other movies the actors have been in. When he writes scripts, he reads them to my sister and me and asks us what we like. He supports my mom, sister and me with our love for ballet and never complains about seeing a performance more than once. My only wish is that my dad can walk and one day I hope it will come true.
My dad is an important influence on me because he has taught me never to give up, never to let go of my dreams and always to keep my sense of humor about life.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.