What can we do?

PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

I recently heard a story about a couple who had to cancel their anniversary celebration vacation to Las Vegas because of the pandemic.

My heart broke for them.

I think many can relate to this disappointment of canceling a vacation. I already have had to cancel two trips to Orlando, Fla., a wedding in Sweden and many trips to Wisconsin to see family.

2020 has become the year of canceled travel.

This couple, though, did not have an uneventful day. On the morning of their anniversary, their children — ages 9 and 11 — got up early to make them breakfast. They set the table and created homemade cards and menus. One child was assigned to be the chef, and the other was the waiter.

I immediately wondered if it was safe for these young kids to be in the kitchen without their parents. Well, when Mom and Dad awoke and found this surprise, they indulged in a huge bowl of Frosted Flakes. (The menu must have listed cereal options.)

Take notice: These young children did not disobey any family rules. They were not unsafe in the kitchen. Instead, they asked a simple question: What can we do?

As we venture into vacation season, rather than remembering what has been canceled, let’s be creative and consider what we can do. Maybe we can create some backyard fun with old-fashioned sprinklers. Maybe we can create a version of a drive-in movie theater, including a bonfire and s’mores. Or, maybe we can plan a staycation.

Years ago, when my three children were in elementary school, we planned a summer staycation. Every Friday, we explored our county. One Friday, we enjoyed a picnic at Eagle Point Park. Another Friday, we hiked at the Mines of Spain State Recreation Area. On other Fridays, we waded in the creek at Swiss Valley Nature Preserve, visited all of the great ice cream shops and candy stores, rode the Fourth Street Elevator, found the Dubuque Shot Tower and Julien Dubuque Monument and played catch at Field of Dreams.

The best part of the staycation of 2004 was when the kids returned to school and learned about their city, county and state. They had visited the historical sites that they were learning about. They were not just looking at pictures or hearing stories. They were reliving their adventures.

So tonight at the dinner table, ask what can we do this summer to create a memorable vacation right in our backyard.

Kathie Rotz is a leadership consultant and John Maxwell Certified Speaker, Trainer and Coach with Unity Consulting in Dubuque.

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