‘Having an extra day was like Christmas came early’

Single mother

I have been a single mother for 15 years. And I have to say, it’s been an absolute blessing. My ex-husband was very aggressive, always wanting to bring me down in whatever way he could.

One day, we were at the airport and he pretended that he didn’t have the passports. He got the airport staff to call me over the tannoy. He gave me the passports, shoved them in my face telling me I had to do it. I was so humiliated and embarrassed. At that moment I knew, whatever the fears I had, that it was time for me to leave.

The legal process was very hard. It lasted seven years. I tried to keep things normal but he was so cruel. He did beat me up in a parking lot in front of my daughter. He wanted to take her away from me. I was scared but I had to keep fighting for my freedom. I was banned by the court from talking to my daughter about the matter, not allowed to take her to the dentist or doctors or anything. They said that if I do I would go down for parental manipulation.

My daughter was extraordinarily confused. And I hated that I couldn’t give her support during that time. When the trial was over, I felt like I was there to pick up the pieces. There was no time for me to try to get over it. I just had to box it up. Ultimately, things got better between me and her. I’ve always been proud of her and I believe she’s really amazing. One time, she got this lead role in a play and I was blown away by her performance. She’s a wonderful writer and she helps me with my writings as well. Although she adores studying, she’s been struggling with school lately.

The inflexibility and the rigidity of her school makes it really difficult for her. It was amazing when we had the teachers strikes. She was able to revise during those days. We couldn’t imagine that it would benefit her this much. But her school had some bad planning. They don’t give students enough time to do their revision. Having an extra day was like Christmas came early, we spent all day doing revision together. I even came up with some rhymes to help her remember her notes. We did lots of things together and I could tell she was happy with it. My daughter was happier and more relaxed during strike days. I was able to spend more time with her, give her my support like I always wanted to. It was like a Christmas gift for us.

As told to Nissrine Ouazrouti

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