You sign here …

A capital Z which… doesn’t mean Zorro. And let our grandson not draw with the point of his sword either! The Z is only the initial of his first name, Zakaria. These days, we see them all over the house: our schoolboy is inventing a signature. For the CE1 student that he is, the event will be a milestone.

Recognizing the letters of his first name, recopy them, as for friends, it is learned in kindergarten. In CP, we add the last name that we practice writing with a more fluid gesture. But the business is getting tougher now that we would like to calligraphy everything in a single throw, embellished please with a flourish to his liking – like the grown-ups!

We have all been there, through this stage which marks self-assertion. A signature is not chosen in a hurry. We patiently develop it, we test it, asking mom and dad for their opinion, and sometimes grandparents when we have them on hand.

In the years to come, Zakaria will of course change signing. He will adapt it to his age, he will make it less readable, more complicated. It will match his personality of the moment.

Signing with his name once expressed a significant level of education. I never consult without emotion these registers of civil status in which our ancestors were content to affix a cross – “sign said they did not know” …

One signature is so important that you can have two. My father, I remember, had his everyday signature and the other, less easy to reproduce, which he kept for his checks. Not sure that the checkbooks still exist when Zakaria comes of age. The signatures themselves may have definitely given way to their digital avatar.

But I hope that by then our grandson will have realized the weight that a signature can have. Whether it is petitioning, supporting or expressing agreement, we must learn not to sign with our eyes closed. A signature contains a commitment! And whatever the age of the signatory.

Coincidentally, I recently found, duly initialed by one of our boys, a contract that we had made together. As a teenager, he made a commitment to limit the time devoted to I do not remember which video game that had been offered to him.

There are today’s signatures. There are those of yesterday and the day before yesterday. Leafing through old documents a few years ago, I have fallen under the spell of such and such initials from the past. I imagined how many drafts had been necessary before their author reached perfection and he gave us these little masterpieces as an inheritance …

Learning, with its more or less successful attempts, sometimes leaves traces. I remember a dictionary, some pages of which had once served as a test bed. There was a name and a first name, reproduced in various writings. A series of signatures, in fact, with a few erasures. The sketches of a kid looking for his claw and who would be great-grandfather today!


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