"In high school, my mom was really broke. My sister and I lived with her, and we had recently moved into a house with my mom's new boyfriend. He had been such a cool guy until we all moved in together. He stopped paying his share of rent and utilities, and my mom (who was and still is woefully underpaid) was covering everything herself, including food for the whole house, all of our phone bills, and her car payments/insurance. Money was so very hard to come by for us, just getting by was becoming a way of life for us.

Winter came along and the temperatures dropped below 30 degrees Celsius. Mom worked mornings and her boyfriend refused to drive us anywhere before noon, so we had to figure something out. My dad decided to step in (still in our lives, we just don't live with him and we hardly saw him until this point) and drive my sister to school. She was in grade 10 and had decided to stay at the same school as she had been for years earlier. I wanted a change and went to a closer school- still a 20-30 minute walk, but far closer than hers. The winter was sapping my energy and making me sick on my long walks to and from school; something had to be done.

Mom got me a bus pass. She saved up and spent $100 on it for four months of bussing. It was so much easier than walking and made my life so much better, I was so relieved to not be walking (I had a medical issue with my hernia, walking was getting pretty hard.. but that's another story). The part that ill never tell her? I lost it within a week. I cannot figure out how, maybe it was stolen or it fell out of my wallet on the bus, I don't know. I was so sad and felt so unbelievably guilty that I had refused to tell her- I kept my schedule the same and left when I normally would catch the bus, but instead of bussing I turned down a side street and rushed as fast as my half-frozen legs would go without killing my stamina. I barely made it to my classes on time for four months. All the way into spring when it started warming up.

When the pass would have expired, I was surprised one morning to find a new one left out for me. My mom put money way each paycheck for all that time because she thought the bus meant so much to me. It was very touching and I thanked her, gave her a kiss on the head, and acted like it was normal. I still feel so wrong about it... And I don't ever want to tell her.

She tried so hard for me, and I just want her to feel like a great mom because she deserves it."