Parents’ sacrifice defines who children are

Published on December 5, 2012

By Kylie MacHattie
In Canada we do not seem to celebrate a day designated to parents. Card companies have yet to jump on this wagon. We have Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and birthday cards but nothing that seems to capture the sacrifice that parents make for their offspring.

Out of curiousity I googled ‘Parents Day’ and to my surprise there actually is a designated day if you live in the United States. Our neighbours to the south will celebrate this on July 28, 2013. 

Teaching and working at the College of Piping has given me the insight that perhaps my parents weren’t as crazy as I originally thought. Every day I see parents making sacrifices so their kids can pursue what they love to do. Some commute long distances night after night, some volunteer long hours, some work extra shifts to cover lessons and some, despite having no Celtic background or prior knowledge of their child’s discipline, support them unconditionally and become involved wholeheartedly.

I grew up in a house with four other sisters. Four of us played the bagpipes and three of us danced. For the start of our chosen activities we could take lessons in our hometown of Abbotsford, but pretty soon greater ambitions saw us travelling further afield to Vancouver. This meant an hour commute each way and with my father already working in the city; it put a bit of a strain on our family.

Quitting lessons was never an option for my parents. Instead my mom became confident in driving a motorhome and we would meet my dad in the parking lot of where our group dancing lessons took place. We would have supper as a family and then my dad would take my older sister to band practice while the rest of us danced and then we would meet them back at home later that evening.

We did this for many years and in many parking lots as our family was on the road into Vancouver four nights a week. Many weekends were spent at competitions or at fundraising events. I’m sure there were a lot of times when my parents wondered what they were doing.

I look back and realize how much they sacrificed so their children could pursue their chosen activities. Without their sacrifice I wouldn’t have met my husband, travelled as much as I have, had half the life experiences, memories or even have the job that I do.

I see the same sacrifices in the parents at the College. When I see their faces at recitals, competitions and community events, I know that they find it worth it.

Do we need a Parents Day? I’m not sure.

I know from my own experience that the happiness that my sisters and I found from dancing and bagpiping was enough for my parents. I do know that if it did become a special day for parents, I wouldn’t complain about spending money on a card. It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make for an even bigger one that defined who I am.