You haven't lived until you've sent your 16-year-old driver to the supermarket.
My daughter is in love with driving and I'm in love with skipping the grocery chore. Bonus: she spends less money than me, because she sticks to a list.
I had sent my daughter to find a turkey for Thanksgiving, which Americans celebrated this week. They've been warned not to travel, not to co-mingle households due to Covid running amok, but we won't know how many people broke the rules for a couple weeks, as the virus incubates.
Funny how in Aotearoa we're jumping on bandwagon for Black Friday, which happens the day after Thanksgiving. My family and I continue to celebrate Thanksgiving despite the fact turkeys are expensive and it's usually too hot to want to cook; and the fact that with each passing year, I learn more about the holiday's horrible origins.
"Hey, kids - let's celebrate colonialism!"
Our favourite day of feasting, talking and resting bears an awful asterisk. Historians are setting the record straight, exploding the myth Thanksgiving was consenual and bloodless.
NZME reported on Thursday that students in many US schools "are now learning a more complex lesson that includes conflict, injustice and a new focus on the people who lived on the land for hundreds of years before European settlers arrived".
Historian David Silverman wrote last year in the New York Times that colonists' aggressive, underhanded expansion culminated in King Philip's War of 1675-76, where the English killed thousands of native people and enslaved thousands more.
"Plymouth and Massachusetts celebrated their bloody victory with a day of thanksgiving."
President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 began a national day of Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November to honour battles won in the Civil War.
More than 150 years later, we're paying more attention to atrocities against natives, but mostly using Thanksgiving as a catalyst for fellowship, an excuse to buy stuff and a reason to stuff our faces.
The advantage of marking a holiday which is not customary where you live is the chance to chop and change. We're modifying Thanksgiving - feasting today (Saturday) because we and our guests have been flat tack all week.
A small turkey is thawing. A jar of whole cranberries graces the pantry next to two tins of pumpkin. I've stashed a can of whipped cream in the garage refrigerator, hoping to prevent Master 15 from shooting the contents into his mouth.
I'll make pies soon and my guests will bring kumara topped with marshmallows, plus green bean casserole. We'll improvise seating in our little house with its small table. I might add a word or two about Thanksgiving's origins before we take turns sharing why we're thankful.
For all its weirdness and sadness, 2020 has still produced moments deserving of gratitude.
There's the realisation we can gather at all, while people throughout the rest of the world are masking up and avoiding each other. There's thankfulness for a job if you have one, for opportunities if you don't, and for the help of a caring community if things have really hit the fan.
I'm buoyed each time I read about the latest donations to the Tauranga Community Foodbank and Rotorua Salvation Army Foodbank. Even this year - especially this year - people are digging deeper to help feed their neighbours.
I'm thankful Miss 16 has secured a part-time job washing dishes and delivering meals at a retirement village. My daughter, who tends towards introversion, is learning new skills and asking for help from a group of strangers-turned-coworkers.
I watch her walk away in her uniform shirt and I'm proud.
I'm thankful my teens can still attend school and play sports with other kids, while their friends in America continue online learning and social distancing.
I'm thankful no one's stockpiling toilet paper and flour in Aotearoa like they are in the States (though hoarding was unnecessary here and likely is unnecessary in America, too).
I'm thankful I can work in an office and interact with grown-ups. I'm also grateful for the home office that lets me skip the commute, the makeup and packing my lunch in favour of walking to my desk, presenting a naked face to my dog and eating at the kitchen bench.
I'm grateful for the emergence of not one, but several, promising vaccine candidates. I'm thankful for scientists who've developed them and for the tens of thousands of volunteers who are testing them.
These drugs have the potential to reunite us with the rest of the world, to allow us to see far away loved ones face-to-face, to live something resembling a pre-Covid existence. Hope and possibility are beautiful cousins.
I'm thankful we have choices. We can invite as many friends and family around as we like, or linger in our bubbles. We can accept all the Christmas function invitations (five and counting for me), or skip them.
We can assemble for a maskless meal. In 2020, that's reason enough to celebrate.