Vanessa Parsons on finding inspiration in hope during Melbourne's Coronavirus lockdowns

June 18th, 2021

By Vanessa Parsons

On the 26th March 2020, my husband and I closed the door on our business for the first Melbourne lockdown, not knowing when we would be able to reopen again. We had put our heart and soul into growing our small business for the past seven years and now, quite suddenly, the future was uncertain.

The next day, feeling numb and trying to keep myself busy, I went out in search of some chalk ‘for our children'. I had read about an initiative on Facebook encouraging people to draw and display rainbows in order to spread hope and joy. I found and purchased the last packet of chalk left on the shelves and drawing rainbows and writing messages of hope on our driveway became my therapy. First there were rainbows on the driveway, then there were rainbow letterboxes, fences and rainbow ribbons tied around the big gum tree. 
Neighbours in the street stopped to comment on our rainbow creations and it felt like we were making a difference in our little street.

As I continued to navigate the uncertainty of life in lockdown, every rainbow I saw became a symbol of hope. They reminded me to remain positive, to be curious about what was possible and to be grateful for the little things.

Feeling inspired by the power of the human spirit and it's desire to connect and spread hope at this difficult time, I set out to capture this inspiration in a children's picture story book. The story of how, when we had to be apart, we found so many creative ways to stay connected and spread joy was the perfect story to tell. It's the story of my family and the story of every family that experienced a lengthy lockdown.

My dream is that a copy of The Rainbow Connection finds its way to every child who drew a rainbow; painted or made a rainbow; baked a rainbow cake; placed a teddy bear in a window; went for walk to spot rainbows/teddies; celebrated a rainbow birthday; connected with their grandparents online; or participated in remote schooling so they can read it and say: 'That was me!'
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Tags: coronavirus, author, children, publishing

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