When we finally hit the Outer Banks, I decided to take them up Jockey's Ridge, the largest natural sand dune on the East Coast. I was hoping it was late enough in the day and that the sinking sun would make it a bearable adventure.
Up we went, Alamae in my arms as Gus and Arlo raced ahead. The familiarity of a place I had gone so often as a child but hadn't been to in at least a dozen years held on to me tight. Spring puddles filled with tadpoles. Summer sunsets with kites flying high before going off to get ice creams. Fall birthdays spent playing hide and seek.
But it was hot and the sand stuck to our sweat and there was no adult to help me as I wrangled children, camera, and a bag that should have held a water bottle. Arlo face planted and Alamae got sand in her eyes, and by the time we got back to the van I questioned why I had ever conceived of such an idea.