WHEN I started writing this column, the brief was to look at the world through a mother’s eyes, with the emphasis on the joys and challenges of family life.

It was the spring of 2019, when life was completely Covid-free. The idea that a global pandemic was just around the corner would have sounded too sci-fi for words.

Had I told my two sons that soon, there would come a time when they would not be able to hug their beloved grans for 14 months, they would have assumed I’d lost the plot. The eyerolling would have been off the scale.

Equally, if you had told me I would be watching my children carry out swab tests on themselves twice a week and wearing masks just to feel safer at school, I would have thought YOU had lost the plot.

My chat in those first columns was all about teens and tweens and hopes and aspirations, career choices and exam results, books and holidays, my love of Strictly.

READ MORE: Ann Fotheringham: Call them what you like, just not Generation Covid

Some things have not changed in the course of those two years – still love Strictly – but family life as we knew it has been turned upside down and inside out.

In our house, we have been lucky, because we have jobs we can do at home and a garden and gadgets and wi-fi. We have become jugglers, cutting our cloth and re-inventing our week. We have tried to help friends struggling with the terrible isolation the pandemic caused, panicked about what all the disruption to our children’s education might mean. We have worried and hoped, and lost and grieved.

The strangeness of life in a world dominated by Covid has been something we have all had to get used to.

My mum told me recently the hardest part of the last year was when I went round to drop in her birthday present, and I stood in her garden under an umbrella, and she was just inside the door with her coat on, because it was January and it was freezing.

“My daughter brought me a present, and I could not invite her in, could not let her sit in the house she grew up in,” she told me afterwards, shaking her head in disbelief.

“How can that be possible, that it has come to this?”

I wrote about redundancy, mental health, the tragedy of our care homes, families torn apart.

The world through a mother’s eyes looks very different, two years on.

The joys and challenges of family life too, have changed completely. I doubt any of us will take it all for granted again.

Within moments of the First Minister’s emotional announcement that from today, we can hug our relatives (and do it indoors) again, my mum was on the phone to tell me she would be round “on Monday night, I don’t need my dinner – just a cup of tea will be fine” to hug her grandsons.

I’m off to put the kettle on.

I’m handing over this column now to my fantastic colleague Vicky Allan, who will be looking at life with an environmental slant ahead of Scotland’s hosting of climate change conference COP26. Thanks for reading.