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When the rumblings of the COVID-19 pandemic started making its way into our lives via various media channels, it was hard to ignore. Then the heart-breaking and often horrendous stories linked to it were a lot to digest on any given day.

And still, I went about life fluctuating between a degree of calm and peace and sudden anxiety – always weaving their way into what was until then a relatively measured life. It was not until President Cyril Ramaphosa (South Africa) declared a three week lockdown period that I was suddenly gripped by fear and rolled into survival mode instinctively.

For someone who loves mapping things out, setting and meeting deadlines and steering the charted course, the start of the lockdown was difficult. I remember rushing into the supermarket before the lockdown kicked in and although I had a list of essentials to buy, when confronted with all those aisles of groceries and toiletries i went into a flat spin.

The neatly typed out list was deleted and I found myself throwing things into the trolley that I would not ordinarily buy because I was hit with the “what if…” thought. What if the lockdown is extended? What if supermarkets don’t open for the longest time? What if I run out of x, y, z?

Looking back now, I can’t believe I was “that” shopper. *Hides*

The other thing, as someone who enjoys her own space, it was the first time I was super thankful for having company in the form of my mother.

The reason she was visiting is because four days before the lockdown my brother and his wife welcomed the most precious baby boy into the world. Connor Luke Kast made his grand appearance at a time where things like chaos, confusion, fears, anxiety and depression were slowly but wilfully starting to wrap itself around our nation.

We had a Heaven sent antidote.

They say that a baby is a blessing and while I believe it, it wasn’t until Connor came into our lives that I fully grasped the real meaning of that comment. I desperately want to paint a picture of how I felt when my eyes spotted him for the first time, but, words will not adequately describe the pure joy. I never thought I could love another human the way I love my nephew. My heart literally feels like it’s exploding at the thought of him.

He is perfect. He is ours to love and nurture. He is without doubt our biggest blessing.

We got to see Connor in person very briefly but those moments are deeply imprinted in my heart.

We depend on pictures, videos and face time calls to bond with him. Not ideal but what can we do?! Bias aside, on the days when I feel like I’m going to drown with heaviness and despair (oh yes, I too have my down days) the thought of Connor gives me an instant boost of hope. A hope and a promise that just like the sun rises and sets each day, so too will this pandemic end.

When it will end we don’t know. But, what I do know is that we can and must keep hope alive… for ourselves and for Connor’s generation and those after.

Remain hopeful.

Remain thankful.