Isolation Leads to Creativity, Discovery, Self-Reflection
While the stay-at-home restrictions were difficult for many Michiganders, they did not come without some benefits. Residents across Greater Lansing not only learned to persevere, but they also discovered a variety of creative and unexpected qualities about themselves.
For East Lansing resident Erin Crowe and her 12-year-old daughter, Maggie, self-isolation meant an opportunity for Maggie to hone a hobby as well as provide a connection with family and friends. With Maggie as chef and Crowe as camerawoman, the pair created videos showcasing Maggie’s burgeoning baking skills.
“When thinking about something to do during quarantine, Maggie started baking and some friends asked if they could bake ‘together,’” Crowe explained. “We decided to use Facebook Live as the platform so more friends could join, and it ended up being a really social activity that many people enjoyed.”
Maggie has been baking independently for a few years and uses her culinary craftsmanship as a creative outlet and positive activity. Her step-by-step video demonstrations included everything from chocolate chip cookies and scones to lemon poppyseed muffins and Easter cheesecakes.
“It was a great way to bridge the gap between something that makes her happy and a way to connect with everyone she was missing while being home during quarantine,” Crowe said. “She liked being able to share something she is passionate about with friends and family, and it was really fun to read the comments and answer questions throughout the baking process.”
Although the quarantine presented challenges and changes to normal routines, it also presented an opportunity to learn and grow as both individuals and as a family.
“We have had to change our activities as a family,” Crowe said. “The kids have learned some new household skills and tasks … and we have had more time to create in the kitchen. I taught myself how to make homemade bread.”
Teamwork makes the dream work for Lansing resident Abbie Brown, who discovered that she and her husband are quite the dynamic duo when it comes to parenting their son.
“We knocked out potty training in the first week,” she said. “That is just the tip of the iceberg as far as what we have accomplished. I feel like he and I have been able to spend some time talking about how we want to parent and then putting those goals into action because of the time we have now to dedicate to it. We even had a ‘date night-in’ creating a vision board for our family.”
When her husband announced his plans to work from home, Brown panicked at the thought of having too much “together” time. The result, however, was polar opposite of her initial fears.
“I have found our family — and especially the relationship of my husband and I — getting stronger through this time,” she said. “We actually have the time to spend together and do things that normally would fall to the wayside.”
Sometimes inner strength means letting go. Williamston resident Rachel Piner believed she required structure, routine and planning to thrive. In self-quarantine, she discovered she was much stronger than that.
“COVID-19 has proven that I do not actually require any of these things and that I can still do my job full time — be a mom full time and a wife full time — without knowing what is going to happen next,” Piner said. “I don’t always have to have the answer; I can just trust that we will figure it out, one step at a time.”
Although successfully overcoming unexpected obstacles has given Piner a great sense of accomplishment during the stay-at-home order, the hardest part of quarantine has been the distance from extended family — yet even that has given her a highlighted sense of appreciation.
“I have a very close family and not being able to see them for more than two months has been very difficult,” she said. “This makes me hopeful that when this is all over, I won’t take seeing my loved ones for granted.”