Me, Mom & Transit Adventures. ~ Nadia Mah

Via elephant journal
on Apr 12, 2013
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Photo: Blue Caleel

Before mom got her driving license in the late 1980s, we bussed and sky-trained everywhere.

A few coins for fare and an umbrella for rain, we kept it easy, kept it light. Then one day, along the way—but seemingly out of nowhere—my brother joined us with his dimples and his bowl cut, and so our party of two became three and because of him, we became a lot cuter too.

No matter where we went, mom always sat in the middle, and stood in the middle, because we wanted to spend all our time with her. Knowing this, she took us anywhere she fancied because we’d surely follow.

The city was our playground.

We fed ducks at Central Park, ate lunch at Granville Island, borrowed books from McGill Library, shopped for new pants for dad at Woodwards. And no matter how far or close a place actually was, the distance was always the same: far. When our little legs couldn’t keep up, mom would extend her hand backwards, blindly looking for ours, and we’d drum our little feet against the ground—running to catch up until our hands were in hers again.

The three of us always went places during the day. Dad would join whenever he could, but I remembered him to be more of an after work special. Mom made sure she took us out of the house though. She always encouraged adventure.

While I would generally describe mom as soft spoken, I remember her filling my childhood with vivid stories that colored my imagination and explanations that made sense of the outside world. She encouraged my brother and I to engage fully with the world, to not let it pass us by.

Except while we were on the transit. Then she would let us glue our faces to the window, so we could observe the who, what and where ourselves. When we got tired, the three of us would take up a whole row of seats, mom in the middle of course, so that we each got a lap to pillow our face for a nap.

When mom got her own car and driving license, it marked the end of our transit adventures.

Subsequently, it was the beginning of when each of our worlds grew a lot bigger; suddenly we could go farther, faster, more frequently. My brother and I traded time spent together for growing up free of mom holding our hand. It was time to stop seeing the world through a bus window; we had to get out there.

Yesterday, I hung out with mom, just the two of us. We ventured through downtown, perused through floral racks, tried on Tod’s, shared street meat. When it was time to go home, we decided to take the sky train. It has been more than two decades since we last sat side by side while the city flashed by us and it made me flash back to how we started.

Mom was there on day one, when my world had no rhyme or reason, when I had no boundaries or worries, when everything I knew was a story she told me. Now, 20 odd years later, mom is here to listen to the adventures I’m having without her, and to tell me things are going to be okay after the mistakes I’ve made.

I love my mom for that, for her love being constant, when everything else has changed.


nadia mahAn old soul, with a young heart, Nadia writes to reflect, and to let go. Inspired by travel and moved by music, she believes everyone writes their own life story. When not found with her favorite people, she is lost day dreaming about the plot of her future children’s book—the kind that kids snuggle up with at night to read with their flashlights.




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  • Asst Ed: Amy Cushing
  • Ed: Brianna Bemel


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