March 01, 2019

Five Things My Mother & Grandmother Taught Me ~ Kate

By Kate Ward
Five Things My Mother & Grandmother Taught Me ~ Kate

Five Things My Mother & Grandmother Taught Me

I lost my mother and grandmother coincidentally on my birthday, just a few years apart from each other. In life, and during their semi weekly phone calls, they often contradicted each other; teasing each other about their differences. I am grateful for their unique distinctions as they both taught me so much. To honor these women I want to share what I learned through their wisdom.
Mom was all drive and heart. She was a raven-haired beauty, though my kids remember her fondly as having white and downy hair, like a baby chick. Her hair was growing out from chemo treatment when they last saw her.


Mom was go-go-go, reinventing herself after a divorce and a move to Dallas with three kids in tow. In my teens she was finally enjoying the fruits of her labor in public relations and marketing. She inspired me to work hard, pick up a camera and to explore writing. She was always there for my brothers and me and served as a surrogate mom to many friends in need of one. Even in her sickest days she would hold the hand of a nurse or orderly and bless them with praise and gratitude. 

Here are the five things Mom taught me:

  1. Recipes are a love language and a step-by-step guide to a created memory. With some butter and sugar you can conjure up the spirit of those loved and lost. 
  2. Be kind to others. We have no idea what someone else is going through. A smile or bit of kindness may change someone’s day.
  3. Women are strong. They can make a whole new life out of the ashes of an old one. 
  4. When life serves up lemons, take yourself and a loved one to the Zodiac Room at the Dallas Neiman Marcus and have some lemonade. 
  5. Family ties are so important. No matter the miles, make the effort to stay close to family. 


Nana, to her sole granddaughter, was Southern charm and wit. She loved to dote on me and I loved to be in her presence. She lived to be 97 and was beautiful and elegant. She loved to entertain and get dressed up.


Nana’s closet was an orderly display of outfits of every color of the rainbow, always with matching handbags and shoes to match. Nana moved at a leisurely pace and enjoyed life. Whenever I spoke with her I slowed down as well and felt at ease, at peace. She was also very witty and loved to laugh. I can still hear her cackle when I try to conjure it up. I hope I never lose that memory. 

  1. Wit and humor can get you out of almost any jam.
  2. Fashion is delightful fun. It’s a form of art and self-expression. Enjoy color. Black is for funerals. 
  3. A Southern lady always wears lipstick, never swears, and never, ever goes out in public with wet hair. 
  4. All you need to throw an impromptu party are some mixed nuts, good vodka and pretty cocktail napkins. 
  5. The secret to a happy life is simple: surround yourself with friends and family often, enjoy dessert, sit outside and look at the moon, wear bright colors, go shopping and laugh.

To anyone who has lost a powerful woman in their life, remember, you are who they were, in bits and pieces. And being your authentic you honors them as well. 




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