The Madson Family // Carolina Beach Photographer

When my dear Wisconsin friends visited me here in Wilmington I was so grateful to get to show them my little corner of North Carolina, floating in the ocean and talking and spraying 50 spf on our kids and burying our toes in the sand under a beach umbrella and just connecting as if a year hadn’t passed.

Kate talked about how special this vacation was to her. She was the youngest of four kids in a farming family, and had never been to the ocean growing up. To be able to share this magic with her own kids was priceless.

She soaked in that all week — when a line of dolphins swaggered by just off shore, when her kids chased the waves and let the waves chase them, when little fingernails packed with sand studied a new shark tooth necklace, when she kissed the tops of little heads that smelled of salt and sunscreen and the copper penny of childhood sweat.

She teared up talking about what this photo session meant to her. “Everyone should have that experience,” she said. “It was one of the best parts of our vacation.”