Handle It, Kate

Before they moved to Florida, I’d stay with my grandparents in the summertime when I was a kid. My grandmother was a hard-working woman who wasn’t afraid to get outside and get dirty. We canned tomatoes on her screened-in porch and rode bicycles down the dirt road she lived on.

She was a ‘tough ol’ bird,’ as she would say.

When I was no more than five or six years old, she taught me a valuable lesson I’ve tried to live by ever since. I remember tripping over something, falling down and skinning my knee. I’ve never been a fan of blood; even my own makes me lightheaded. I sat there and cried as any kid would. She stood me up, kneeled down, looked me in the eye and said, “Handle it, Kate.” With a nod of her head, she walked away.

“She is a tough ol’ bird,” I thought.

When she passed away in 2006, I was ten minutes too late to say goodbye. My mom and I were flying down to see her one last time, and our flight got delayed leaving Baltimore. I could hear her saying, “Handle it, Kate” while my heart sunk, knowing I had just missed her.

I carry her words with me every day in both my personal and professional life. Whatever stresses, worries, tasks, appointments, disappointments, responsibilities come my way, I “handle it.”

I hope one day my future grandchildren think of me as a tough ol’ bird.