How Quarantine has helped me grow closer to my family

photo via Cincinnati Family Magazine

photo via Cincinnati Family Magazine

Since shelter in place began a couple weeks ago, I have barely left my house. My 93-year-old grandfather lives with my immediate family and we have to be extremely careful about what we touch and ensure everything gets wiped down. In order to limit exposure, we only venture out for grocery shopping and, even then, it’s only one of my parents at a time. 

Before quarantine, we were all extremely busy. Mom is often gone on business trips, Dad works long hours, I have school and rehearsal and my little brother James often has practice a few nights a week. Throughout the course of an average week, we ate maybe one or two meals as a family. Since quarantine started, though, I can’t remember a night we haven’t all sat down and ate with each other. Everyone takes turns making meals and it’s nice to know family dinners are a constant. 

Something else we’ve established recently has been family game nights. Using an app called Jackbox Games, our entire extended family plays over Zoom. While my young cousins who live in Columbus use it as an excuse to make immature jokes, everyone ends up laughing throughout the hour we play together. On nights we don’t play Jackbox, my immediate family has also begun playing Monopoly and Jenga to pass the time. It’s usually fun, at least until one of my parents starts pouting because they’re losing. 

We have also instituted family Zoom meetings. A couple nights a week, we sit around a computer and talk to my grandma, uncles, aunts and cousins. It’s nice to catch up, even if we do spend most of the time teasing each other. My family is extremely close, so there isn’t a lot we don’t know about each other, but the time serves as an excuse for human interaction. 

Another way my family has grown closer throughout this experience is exercise. Two-on-two pick up games aren’t complete without trash talking and James going to his room after he loses. We hit balls in the batting cage for hours, just enjoying each other’s company.

This experience has brought my family closer together and I believe we have a formed unified front. Throughout the next few weeks, when I start to dislike staring at the same walls and faces everyday, I will remember the love and authentic joy I feel in these moments.