When I lived in Canada, the Thanksgiving holiday, every second Monday in October was one of my favourites. A time to share food and libation with family and friends without the pressure of gifts or high expectations. A day to chill and reflect on things that individually and collectively we were thankful for.
Today, I am really thankful that I have both daughters here with me in Scotland, with the eldest visiting for a quick holiday. It is the first time we have seen her since New Year 2020 - in other words pre-pandemic and before the world shut down.
When I first arrived in Canada, thanks to a very British education, I didn't appreciate or understand that the Thanksgiving Holiday represented something entirely different for the indigenous peoples of Canada. Colonized by the new British and French settlers, three hundred years ago, they had had their land stolen and the voices of their children stripped of their languages and rich culture. The domination of white culture over the varied and traditional cultures that had existed for hundreds of years. Not so much to be thankful for.
Scotland too has experienced the deconstruction of her cultures and languages over the years. And girls and women, across the world, are still dogged by discrimination, violence , abuse and denied access to education. FGM still continues to be a reality.
But wait, I hear you say, isn't this blog title Thanksgiving? And you're right that's where I wanted my thought process to go - to be able to write all is well, motherhood and apple pie.
But there is something unsettled within me today. And, oh my goodness, I have so much to be thankful for. So please don't mistake my words for ingratitude of my own lot in life. For me, the incongruity lays in the inequality of a parallel society. One where the have's and the have not's do not encounter each other. Rules and policies are played out by governance and laws that have little meaning to those without the right to vote or the ability to speak for themselves.
So, today, as I send love and good wishes to all my Canadian friends, hug my two daughters over pumpkin pie and a thanksgiving feast here in Scotland, I am also going to give thanks for the uncomfortable thoughts. They are the ones who will help me most as I continue a journey of understanding through critical thinking and a re-evaluation about what I was told, and taught.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!