And just like that, I realised it yesterday.

Today’s international celebration for little girls crosses with a rolling tear down my cheek for the loss of the one to whom I used to be a little girl. 7 years of absence, that make me year after year, as I grow to become the woman I am today, see the lessons in the days I grew up to share with my grandpa. His memory keeps the little girl in me alive, I play this game with myself in which I wonder what he would think when I leave the hallway’s light of my house on even if I am not using that space, or when I forget and let the water run while brushing my teeth. I hear him in his deep voice saying “Kaoutar…the light”…”Kaoutar…who is using that water now”. And just like that, he is THE guiding voice in my head, just like that when I need him the most, he appears in my dreams and shares the word of wisdom that I need so much in those times.

I am what I am today thanks to the seed that he planted, he didn’t need to literally tell me what to do or what woman I should become. He only had to be his little girl’s daddy and show me how a great human should behave. He knew that in time, I will know how to pick on all of those events.

MODEST is the first word that comes to mind; when bringing something home from the groceries store, he would avoid putting it in a transparent bag because as he said “you don’t want to show people what they can’t afford and be responsible for their bad feeling”.
JOYFUL because everything had to be taken with a smile, even after a stormy fight with someone. Each time that we went through the mcdonalds drive through, he would tease the person that would help us by saying “Sorry, am I late? How long have you been waiting for me?” And just like that, he made a total stranger smile.
PATIENT because that was his Moto “May God grace us with patience”. He would wait fr us to get out of school, wait for grandma to do her shopping, for the neighbour to get his car out of his driveway, for the storm to pass and for the sunshine to show up.
GENEROUS because nobody is staying unfed under his watch. The gardener gets his meal served just like the guy cleaning the cars down the street.
COMPASSIONATE because in Ramadan, the first person to be fed is the one begging outside his door. He ain’t eating before they do.
A BELIEVER, he found in his religion the peace he needed to spread around him. Not by preaching or bossing people around, but just by spreading this energy wherever he was.
DREAMER, because he taught us that we are no less than anyone else. That our way through our lives is the studies we were into, that learning is the key. He told me one day “ if only I knew you like learning this much, I would have done much more for you”

I could go on and on. But the bottom line is:

Little girls need to be shown the path to reach the rights that they are entitled to and take them as a given. Not just wait for the circumstances to offer them to them but be strong enough to reach out and take what is theirs. Not only the right to clean water, education, health care…etc. They need to be believed in, to be told that they are loved, to be taught that they are just as capable of anything as boys are, to be allowed to dream of building roads that cross cities from above just because their daddy is fed up with the traffic, to be looked at as if they are magic. They need to be given that one thing that we want to see back in our societies, that unconditional love, care and kindness.

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