Cathaleen Curtiss – » As I see it...

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The ties that bind


We all do it.  We grow up, we move, we change, we become individuals and we make memories we hope will last.

This last weekend Ella and I visited Hannah in the place she now calls home.  It certainly was not the same as when they were growing up, but for a few days the three of us hung out, laughed and went on little journeys much like we did when we all lived in one house.


These photos are from my belated Mothers Day gift, the gift of being together, laughing, exploring and appreciating the joy of having each other. Adding to our collective memory bank.


As we ventured out each day, I had a profound realization of the things we did together years ago are still visible in who we are today.  The occasions when I would say “hey! Let me get your photo here.”  They would immediately make the little girl poses they did so perfectly year after year in our Christmas photos.  There is no coaching needed it just happens, the heads tilt in, the smiles pop, the arms and legs take perfect positions and they lean against each other.  These moments happened so much that we laughed about it often.


They instinctively know when to ignore me if we are walking or doing something. Knowing that eventually I will stop taking photos and catch up with them. This has been going on their entire lives.  I am including a photo here from when they were little walking on the beach in Florida. (not taken on an iphone but it was copied on the iphone) Notice the similarities with the one taken this year.


Ella and Hannah, Casey Key, Forida 1993


A walk on the beach and sharing stories


Walking the beach on Tybee Island, Hannah single handedly rescued over 200 starfish all the while reciting the names of the birds and seashells and creatures we saw.  Declaring  “it is your fault I majored in biology.”  That it happened on the first family vacation when I let her miss a week of school. We went to the gulf coast of Florida.  I did not want her to think school was not important, even in kindergarten, so I researched the birds, fish, seashells and plants of Florida before going. While on vacation we collected things on the beach and talked about them, what they were, what they do, why they exist and I made her keep a journal and do experiments.   It was fun or so I thought. 18 years later she happily recalls all the names of the birds and shells on the beach.  Again, we laughed.  Joking at my push to make knowledge fun and important, well I guess, they were more laughing at how I behaved more like a strict teacher than a mom on vacation.




Moon Jellyfish


Ella has always been and is still the one that keeps things light.  Ella sees the good in any situation.  As Hannah was starting to doubt her attempts to rescue the stranded Starfish, Ella stated perfectly “You made a difference in this ones life!”  She has always been quick witted, randomly saying things completely off topic that makes us all laugh, either on purpose or by mistake.  Many of her declarations have become staples in our life long conversations and memories.  Often it is her laughter that makes any occasion more memorable.  These trips through out her childhood may have encouraged her independence and passion for travel and adventure.   She certainly has added humor to our adventures.  For instance, there was the time in Paris when Ella tried to trade Hannah and I for a cup of café au lait.  Ella keeps the serious side of Hannah and I carefree.

Putting out Towels at Sullivan Island, SC on a windy day.


I am fortunate to have adult daughters that I love to spend time with. I am thankful for the memories and phrases that make us laugh still.  Little things (both good and bad) we didn’t realize at the time would shape who we are now and give us the ties that bind.

“Some people would like B’s if they only got D’s” Ella age 5

Sisters sharing a moment like so many times before and so many more to come.