‘Once upon a time they was two girls,’ I say. 'One girl had black skin, one girl had white.’
Mae Mobley look up at me. She listening.
'Little colored girl say to little white girl, 'How come your skin be so pale?’ White girl say, 'I don’t know. How come your skin be so black? What you think that mean?’
'But neither one a them little girls knew. So little white girl say, 'Well, let’s see. You got hair, I got hair.’
I gives Mae Mobley a little tousle on her head.
'Little colored girl say 'I got a nose, you got a nose.’
I gives her little snout a tweak. She got to reach up and do the same to me.
'Little white girl say, 'I got toes, you got toes.’
And I do the little thing with her toes, but she can’t get to mine cause I got my white work shoes on.
'So we’s the same. Just a different color’, say that little colored girl. The little white girl she agreed and they was friends. The End.’
Baby Girl just look at me. Law, that was a sorry story if I ever heard one. Wasn’t even no plot to it. But Mae Mobley, she smile and say, 'Tell it again.’
Ever afternoon, me and Baby Girl set in the. rocking chair before her nap. Ever afternoon, I tell her: You kind, you smart, you important. But she growing up and I know, soon, them few words ain’t gone be enough.
I let her cry a minute on my chest and then I take her face into my hands again. I take a deep breath and I tell her to do the same.
“Baby Girl,” I say. “I need you to remember everthing I told you. Do you remember what I told you?”
She still crying steady, but the hiccups is gone. “To wipe my bottom good when I’m done?”
“No, baby, the other. About what you are.”
I look deep into her rich brown eyes and she look into mine. Law, she got old-soul eyes, like she done lived a thousand years. And I swear I see, down inside, the woman she gone grow up to be. A flash from the future. She is tall and straight. She is proud. She got a better haircut. And she is remembering the words I put in her head. Remembering as a full-grown woman.
And then she say it, just like I need her to. “You is kind,” she say, “you is smart. You is important.”
“Oh Law.” I hug her hot little body to me. I feel like she done just given me a gift. “Thank you, Baby Girl.”
“You’re welcome,” she say, like I taught her to.
This is a quote from the 2011 film The Help. The maid Aibileen is also a nanny to Elizabeth Leefolt’s two year old daughter, Mae Mobley Leefolt. Aibileen says this quote three times in the film, which Mae Mobley repeats. Aibileen does this because Elizabeth pays very little attention to her daughter, this is because Mae Mobley is a chubby child and not the prettiest baby (as said by Aibileen in the narrative). So Abilieen uses this quote to give Mae Mobley some self confidence and self-worth.
I think that every child should be continuously told this quote through-out their childhood, and as long as they need to be reminded that they matter.
The Help is an amazing film, and I now have every intention of reading the book. It is heart-warming, uplifting, and heart-breaking. To anyone who has not yet seen it, I highly recommended watching it.
In just ten minutes, the only life I knew was done.
[calling after her through the window] A-a-a-aibee!
God says we need to love our enemies. It hard to do. But it can start by telling the truth. No one had ever asked me what it feel like to be me. Once I told the truth about that, I felt free. And I got to thinking about all the people I know. And the things I seen and done. My boy Trelaw always said we gonna have a writer in the family one day. I guess it's gonna be me.