Rhonda Cagle

You Is Kind. You Is Smart. You Is Important.

In Uncategorized on September 1, 2011 at 9:59 am

My sister and I played hooky from our jobs and lives last week. For a glorious afternoon, the emails coming through our BlackBerries went unheeded, phone calls went to voicemail, and we sat in a darkened movie theater eating popcorn and drinking soda – not diet! – while being enveloped by the beauty of “The Help.” Just stop right there and savor the bliss of that statement… ahhhhhh.

For those who know me even a little bit, you know how rare it is for me to darken the door of a movie theater. Let alone in the middle of the day. During a workweek. With real soda. With. My. Sister. Seriously, this is a blog worthy moment as the last time my sister and I were at a movie together was approximately 12 years ago. And yes, I realize how pathetic that is.

Anyway… we’re moving on.

For those who don’t know, the movie tells the story of a young white woman writing the stories of black maids who serve the families in her town. These stories, primarily told from the perspective of a maid named Aibileen, highlight the nuances of racism and segregation in the Jim Crow south. It’s a great movie! Do yourself a favor and go see it. When you do, pay particular attention to the mantra Aibileen shares with little Mae Mobley, the child of the house in which she serves.

You is kind. You is smart. You is important.

In watching that scene, I was instantly transported back to a nursery. There, I held a little baby and rocked her in the rocking chair that my grandfather had once rocked in. Back and forth, back and forth, we would rock. Swaying and speaking, swaying and speaking, I would tell her, “You are so smart. You are so beautiful. You are so sweet. You are so loved by your mommy and by God.” No matter what was happening outside that room, we were held in the safety and comfort of those words and that rocker. Night after night, month after month, year after year, those words and that ritual became a reminder of the value and beauty of my daughter.

It stopped before her conscious memory was formed. I wish it hadn’t. But the chaos of multiple moves and a marriage in shambles displaced us from that quiet nursery and those precious moments. On my better days, I know she still heard that message through other words and actions that affirmed her value. But still, I wish the swaying and speaking would have continued.

Life is hard and childhood fleeting. We grow up and forget who we are – lose sight of the smart and beautiful person we are. We forget life can be sweet. We forget God loves us. We forget to love ourselves. We forget to love others. We just forget. We need the voice of someone wise and kind to remind us…

You is kind. You is smart. You is important.

Hopefully my daughter hears these words and finds herself rocked in the sway of remembrance. Hopefully you do too.

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