This was our first July 4th away from home. Thanksgiving and Christmas are always hectic, and we’ve spent a lot of them away from home, but 4ththe? The 4th is something special for us. Every year we camp in the sand and watch the fireworks. We have a core group of friends who always camp by our side. My brother and husband smoke meat all day. We play cornhole for hours. We dress in red, white and blue from head to toe, and American flags hang on every single tag. The kids have sand castle competitions. We have traditions. Very special traditions on the 4ththe.
My brother and our friends camped on the beach without us this year. My son’s good friend asked my brother where my son was and when he told him we wouldn’t come this year, the boy started crying. When my brother told me this, I started crying. Christmas be gone. No problem. Thanksgiving. Not a trace on my radar. Lose this tradition? It was an unexpected blow in the pit of the stomach.
My siblings, who live out of town, chose to vacation in San Diego. They wrote photos of the beach. Photos of them laughing playing cornhole. Photos of the city fireworks. Little did they know I cried more with every new photo. Homesickness hit me with a vengeance.
I began to doubt our decision. Is moving out the right way? We are losing traditions! Really great traditions. Then I had a brief moment of reflection. I’ve been here before. I was already like that. There have been so many times that if we focused on paying off debts, we missed vacations, dining out, and events with friends. We felt left out, but it was important to pay off our debts. We focused on the long game and eventually experienced the joy of being debt free.
I’m not going to say that I ran outside and screamed what a beautiful new day it was, I’m not Pollyanna, for God’s sake. I was still sad. I still felt like I had missed something. I cried a little more. But I realized that this was another choice for the long financial game. It’ll suck sometimes and that’s fine.
Fireworks are not allowed to be lit in California. You can watch the city’s shows from afar, but due to the risk of fire, you won’t be able to light your own. Fireworks are sold on every street corner in the Midwest, and we pooled our money to buy it with my sister. As soon as the sun has set, we lit a wonderful fireworks display. The children screamed with joy when they saw something so beautiful up close. My daughter looked at me and said, ‘This is the best day ever’
Maybe it wasn’t that bad after all.
Choose the long game friends. Choose the long game.
The Letting Go post first appeared on Blogging Away Debt.