A Permission Slip To Slow Down

A poem for toddler parents

Megan Minutillo
2 min readMay 22, 2024
Photo by Zachary Kadolph on Unsplash

A mom-blogger on Instagram makes a reel, reminding her and her audience that she only has thirteen more summers left with her five-year-old daughter.

After that, she says, she won’t want to spend her days with me. There will be friends, she says. And young love, and adventures, Mama will take a backseat.

My breath catches a bit as I mentally calculate how many summers it will be before my kid does not want to spend the day with me.

And so we go to the park, and I watch him scamper up the stairs to the slide. Down he goes with a shriek and a laugh. Mama, he says, Look at me!

As he continues to scamper and laugh, the slow rhythm of our afternoon takes shape: up and down, up and down, laughter and looking.

Soon, it is lunchtime. It will take us ten minutes to walk the mere ten feet to our car, and he will want to climb into the car seat himself because he is big. And because he says, “I can do it.” And to my surprise, he can.

When bedtime comes, there will be a million things I haven’t done. The kitchen floor will be dirty. There will be laundry to put away, emails to answer, and more words to write.

Most of my “to-do” list will not get done that evening, and it might not get done the next evening either, for I have worked at a different pace that day.

I have stood in the park and laughed with my son, my sun.



Megan Minutillo

Essayist, poet, and theatre producer. I write stories about self-awareness, IVF, and finding your footing in life’s messy moments. Instagram: @meganminutillo.