I remember a rainy day in Annaba, when my father picked me up from school and protected me from rain with his big military rain cloak. It had no sleeves, only openings for hands and my little seven-year-old face fitted one of them perfectly.
I worried about a bad school grade I got that day. I was afraid that my mom would be angry with me about that. My dad never was, and therefore he was the first to know about my failures. He actually never saw them as failures but as achievements, since my regret wouldn’t let me stay where I was but would push me forward. And he was always sure that I could achieve more if I only wanted it. And he trusted in this wish of mine. But as in any family, there had to be a policeman to declare the rules and indicate the limits. In our family it was a “policewoman” to do this job, my mom: a very kind “guard of family law and order”, but from my seven-year-old point of view, also a very strict one.
So, on that day I was contemplating to hide that bad grade from my mom, since in that term it was not final anyway.
But my father gently insisted that I tell her the truth. “You are right to think that your Mama will be disappointed”, he said, “but when she finds out you lied, and you know that she is very good at that,” he smiled, “then she will be really angry”. After a short silence interrupted only by sound of rain and our feet stamping onto the wet pavement, he added: “Tell her the truth. I’ll help you”. And he did, in a very special, for me unexpected way.
As my mom’s disappointment lingered a bit longer than I would think I could suffer before bursting into tears, which was actually less than thirty seconds after I told her the truth, my Papa sent me to my room and set up to talk to my mom. While going sadly to my room I suddenly heard my mother giggling and I turned to see why. My father held her in his arms and teased her with kisses. Although being a bit jealous and being too little to grasp and understand the situation, I realized that my father made all of us three happy with just one small but sweet gesture.