:::: MENU ::::

Letting Go


This was our first July 4th away from home. Thanksgiving and Christmas are always hectic, and we’ve spent plenty of those away from home but the 4th? The 4th is special to us. Every year, we camp on the sand and watch the fireworks. We have a core group of friends that always camp alongside us. My brother and my husband smoke meat all day. We play cornhole for hours. We dress in head to toe red, white, and blue and there are American flags on every single trailer. The kids have sandcastle competitions. We have traditions. Really special traditions on the 4th.

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 weren’t coming this year, the boy started to cry. As my brother told me this, I started to cry. Being gone for Christmas. No problem. Thanksgiving. Not a blip on my radar. Losing this tradition? It was an unexpected punch to the gut.

Adding to the sadness pile, my siblings who live out of town decided to spend the holiday in San Diego. They texted photos of the beach. Photos of them laughing playing cornhole. Photos of the city fireworks. They had no idea that with each new photo, I cried more. Homesickness hit me with a vengeance.

I started to doubt our decision. Is moving away the right thing to do? We’re losing traditions! Really awesome traditions. Then I had a brief moment of reflection. I’ve been here before. I’ve felt like this already. There were so many times we missed out on vacations, restaurant trips, and events with friends when we were focused on paying off debt. We felt left out but paying down our debt was important. We focused on the long game and eventually we experienced the elation from being debt free.

I’m not going to say I ran outside shouting what a beautiful new day it was, I’m not Pollyanna for goodness sake. I was still sad. I still felt like I was missing out. I still cried a little. But I realized this is another choice for the financial long game. It’s going to suck sometimes and that’s OK.

In California, you can’t light fireworks. You can watch the shows put on by the city at a distance but due to fire danger, you cannot light your own. Every street corner in the Midwest sells fireworks and we pooled our money to buy some with my sister. As soon as the sun set, we lit a glorious fireworks show. The kids screamed with joy at seeing something so beautiful up close. My daughter looked at me and said, ‘This is the best day ever’

Maybe it wasn’t so bad after all.

Choose the long game friends. Choose the long game.


  • Reply Kerry |

    Fireworks are a menace. They are responsible for thousands of injuries a year. And even in the Midwest, some idiot can set the woods or a roof on fire.

    • Reply Beks |

      My family is primarily made up of folks in the fire service and emergency services. I can assure you, we were just fine.

  • Reply Anon Lawyer |

    So your long game is choosing fireworks over family and friends? WTF. (I understand you think ~California politics~ are a travesty even when there’s an incredibly obvious public safety reason behind it but YIKES.)

    • Reply Beks |

      *Looks around confused* Did you not read my post? I must not have made it clear. We’re moving due to the cost of living in California, not politics and certainly not because they don’t allow fireworks (which I agree they shouldn’t due to severe fire danger). My point was that it’s not all bad. Sometimes we’re going to have to sacrifice to make better financial decisions for our families.

    • Reply Lindsey Boycott |

      Beks post was about growing and changing, and the loss we sometimes feel along the way. You’re talking about state-level approaches to public safety and its applications for July 4th. Do you see how those two things are different? Because I do.

  • Reply Emily N. |

    I wish DIY fireworks were illegal around here. Between the town show and everyone and their brother setting them off, we had to deal with 5 hours of explosions on the Fourth.

  • Reply Margann34 |

    Maybe you should plan to return to California for the 4th after you move. Then you can still participate in this tradition!

  • Reply Elizabeth |

    I suggest doing some reasearch – literally, the lightest of google searches, on the cost to wildlife. Bees, birds, deer – all dying for a few minutes of human amusement. I last lit fireworks on NYE 2018-2019 and I never will again.

  • Reply Angelica |

    You can absolutely purchase safe and sane fireworks in many parts of California. You just can’t buy the ones that fly into the sky – drought or no drought. Not that it stopped many people. I don’t understand the lure of trying to set your neighbor’s house on fire, but that’s another topic.

  • Reply Katie |

    This firework thing triggered me too. People light them for days around the 4th where I live, which traumatizes animals, veterans and others. We also live in a high fire danger area and are now stuck breathing in smoke from the multiple fires errant fireworks started. The community shows are the way to go. One night, trained techs and 20-30 minutes and we’re done.

  • Reply Nicole |

    As always Beks, I loved your post and totally relate. I’m a lifelong Midwestern girl (very close to where you are now, I think). Grew up with fireworks in the street every year, a cherished childhood memory. And carrying it on with my kids.

So, what do you think ?