DETROIT, FAMILY, FEATURE STORY

Finding Joy and Normalcy During Uncertain Times

Two weekends ago, Travis and I took the kids to the Dequindre Cut Greenway in Eastern Market for a family walk and to get pizza at Supino’s Pizzeria. It had been over six months since we ate at the pizzeria so it was nice to get food from one of our favorite Detroit pizza restaurants!

And the last time we had shopped in Eastern Market was in late winter. I think it was just a few weeks before the pandemic hit. I have missed our weekend grocery visits to Eastern Market’s Saturday market and Gratiot Central Market.  

Dequindre Cut Eastern Market Greenway
The Dequindre Cut is a 2-mile urban greenway that is located in Eastern Market, Detroit.
Dequindre Cut Greenway Eastern Market Detroit
If you walk the full two miles of the greenway, then you will reach the Detroit Riverfront.
Detroit, Michigan

The weather was nice that day so I thought the kids would enjoy a change of scenery and walking around the Cut. I’ve been trying to find more outdoor activities we can do, especially before it gets too cold outside. I even started a wish list of outdoor activities and places to visit this coming fall. I’ll have to share my list with you soon in case you’d like to add any destinations to your fall list. 

I’ve always wanted to walk the entire path of the greenway and try riding a bike on the pathway. Since I don’t have a bike yet, it’s nice to know I can rent one from the Mogo bike station in Eastern Market. I think it only costs $8 to rent a bike for the day. Once I’m fully recovered from having the baby, I plan to do this very thing before the weather gets cold. 

Sydney G. James mural in Detroit, Michigan
You can find a few murals, likethis one, throughout the Dequindre Cut.
Sydney G. James Mural Art Detroit
Beautiful mural by Sydney G. James

When we arrived at the Dequindre Cut, I wasn’t expecting there to be an event. I had just assumed that since the majority of the city’s summer events had been cancelled because of COVID, there wouldn’t be anything going on at the Cut. To our surprise, the Dequnidre Cut Freight Yard was hosting its seasonal weekend summer event.

As soon as Zhen saw it, she exclaimed, “Oh, look! There’s an event! And they have music! Can we go to it? Can we go see it?”

Every summer, Travis and I take the kids to city events and to hang out at our favorite Detroit places. Pre-pandemic life, I was either taking the kids places during the week or when Travis was off from work on the weekends, we were out in the city. It was very rare that we were home on the weekend because we were always on the go. It became our thing. 

But that was before COVID– before everything changed and social distancing became part of our reality. It felt weird this summer not seeing pop-up carnivals in shopping center parking lots or seeing announcements every week for events and festivals.

Dequindre Cut Freight Yard Detroit
BLM Black Lives Matter
BLM | BLACK LIVES MATTER
Division Street Dequindre Cut

I know the kids have been really bored with just staying home these last few months. So when they heard the techno music playing at the Dequindre Cut Freight Yard and they saw a small gathering of people at the event, they were very excited.

They started dancing around– a literal dance break in the middle of the pathway. Haha! Travis and I had to guide them over to the grass so they weren’t in the way of the people riding their bikes and skating. 

Zephaniah will dance anytime, any place if he hears music playing.

I packed a coloring set for the kids for a fun activity to do outside just in case they got bored. I had completely forgotten to bring their scooters and I told them next time we visit the Dequindre Cut, I’d make sure to bring the scooters with us. 

We found a table to sit at and the kids enjoyed drawing pictures of the bicycles they saw at the greenway. Zhen had even made a picture of me babywearing Zaya. 

Zhen’s picture of me babywearing Zaya. I love how she drew Zaya in the middle, safe and secure in the wrap. Oh, and she made my hair super big!
Dequindre Cut Greenway Eastern Market Detroit

As we were sitting at the table, an older couple (a man and a woman) sat two tables behind us. The woman noticed I was holding little Zaya and she kept looking over at the baby and smiling. Finally, she walked over to our table, still keeping a courteous distance from us, and she asked, “How old’s the baby?” 

I smiled and said, “She’s three weeks old now.” 

“Aww. She’s beautiful. Congratulations!” the woman said to me. She smiled and fondly looked at Zaya a few seconds longer and then she walked back to her table. 

Lately, Zechariah has shown an interest in photography.

As I turned back to the kids, I thought about how sad it was that we had to keep our distance like this. I was thinking about the times before the pandemic when I had a new baby in my arms and a person would come up to me oohing and awing over my baby. They’d ask me how old the baby is and then we’d strike up a brief conversation about what life was like with a newborn.

If it was someone older than me, the person would usually offer friendly advice about babies and parenthood. Something along the lines of, “Enjoy this moment now because time goes by fast!” or “I miss my children when they were this young. It goes by fast, doesn’t it?”

Good Life Detroit

Of course, COVID has changed all of that. People keep their distance now and friendly conversations with passersby are becoming rare. It’s funny how you miss the little things like this.  

After our visit to the freight yard, we headed back to the van. Travis took out his phone to place our pizza order for Supino’s and we waited in the parking lot until it was ready.

As we were waiting for the pizza order, I had an idea to see if there were any ice cream places still open. I discovered there was a new ice cream shop called Cold Truth that closed late. So after we got our pizza order, we did things kind of backward and had our dessert first. 

Cold Truth Soft Serve Detroit
The Cold Truth specializes in dairy and vegan soft serve.
Cold Truth Soft Serve Detroit
I had lavender, mocha ice cream and Travis had mint ice cream. The kids each had a kid-size vanilla ice cream with Oreo cookie toppings.
Ice cream and face masks
I just realized this was our first time out as family since Zaya’s birth!

As we sat outside at a patio table enjoying our cold treats, I looked around and noticed the traffic wasn’t very busy. It felt kind of unusual to see a quiet city on a Saturday night. It almost looked like a ghost town because many businesses had either closed early for the night or were still closed because of the pandemic. 

We’re all trying to find some normalcy during an uncertain time. I certainly don’t want this to become our new normal, but I am being mindful of creating joy for the kids and even myself. I think it’s important to take time for joy, love, laughter, family, friends, and self– however that might look for each of us. 

Cold Truth ice cream in Detroit, Michigan

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