One year later and my daughter is already back from her first year at Queen’s University in Kingston. It went by so fast, even for her.

Her first semester was challenging. She thought about transferring to Carleton U for 2nd year, but was committed to finishing out her first year at Queen’s. 2nd semester was completely different. She loved it. And as her mom, I was 99% sure that’s how it would play out.

So it was exactly one year ago on April 30th that we were filling up a cart with all things IKEA for her dorm room.

One year Colleen Kanna, Photo of my daughter at Ikea with a full shopping cart.

Shopping at IKEA one year ago

And one year later to the day, I’m standing in the line at IKEA returning a set of Led lights that she never even opened. Did you know that IKEA has a 365 day return policy? I had no idea. And somehow I still had the receipt!

Her first year is in the bag, a milestone complete. And, another milestone, she turns 19 tomorrow on May 1st. She’s now legal to drink in all provinces. Whoa…

One year Colleen Kanna, My daughter at 17 months and 19 years

Then and now

I was recently listening to A Slight Change of Plans podcast with Maya Shankar. It was the April 23rd episode, The Devastation of Things Going Exactly to Plan featuring Kelly Corrigan. If you’re a mom, it’s a bittersweet listen.

Kelly talks about that brief period of time, a couple of years if we’re lucky, when we know everything about our child. We know what they eat, what they wear, what they play with, and how they sleep. We know every inch of their little body right down to how they poop. There’s no other relationship where we know another person so completely.

And then they head off to daycare and you no longer know what they’re doing every minute of the day. Then off to school where the teacher seems to know more about your child than you do. And let’s not get started on the teenage years when you as a parent know nothing. And finally it’s off to college or university, and you have no clue about their daily life except for what they want you to know on a weekly FaceTime call.

That’s what we want as parents, right? Strong, independent kids that can think on their own, make decisions on their own, live on their own, and survive on their own. It’s what we signed up for.

But, are we prepared for how little time we’ll spend with our children from this point onward. How little we’ll know about them and their lives?

Suddenly your job is over. You’ll always be there for your children in an instant. But will they want you there? Probably not. Remember the days hanging out with the other moms at the park or in the school yard at pick up? Someone mentions their mom is coming to visit. And everyone gives them that look and says…Ooh, for how long?

The number of days you spend with your child in a year are…well…numbered. Tim Urban who writes Wait But Why did this article depicting on a dot graph, how many days you have with your parents.

When you’re a young child, you have 365 days with your parents. When you’re 18, you might have 35 days with your parents. 30, you have 12 days, and 40, maybe 5 days. That’s 5 days in a whole year. On a grand scale of 365, that’s not that many.

When you think about your kids growing up, you want them to get a good job, make money, move away, and have a family of their own. You want them to have a life of their own. You wouldn’t want it any other way.

But, when you see it laid out in # of days per year you get to spend with them and know them, it’s rather shocking and sad.

So for now, I have the summer with my daughter. That’s 4 whole months or 120 days. At which time, we’ll probably both be ready for her to start 2nd year!

Would love to hear your own thoughts and experiences on this?

Until next time,

~ Colleen

Colleen Kanna

I’m a recovering Chartered Accountant and Breast Cancer Champion turned Fashion Designer. My COKANNA Canadian-made bamboo clothing is all about comfort and style. Giving back to the community is important to me so I support local breast cancer organizations who treat the whole person and not just the disease.