Goodbye To 3, From The Mother Of An Almost 4-Year-Old

by Misty Nelson
A two-part collage of Misty Nelson on a park with her son and her son playing with fallen leaves
Misty Nelson /

Goodbye 3! We had some good times. All the forts we built, castles in the sand, tall towers that almost touched the clouds. All the places we’ve traveled, adventures far and wide.

Your little heart sees a world full of magic. So big, so limitless. I am so lucky I get a glimpse of it all through your eyes. I hold your hand, and for a moment, I can feel the rush of pure wonder whip across my face. It tingles. It makes my soul smile.

You know nothing of time. No past, no future. You live completely in the now. You are terrible at keeping secrets. And you are wonderful at giving snuggles, and Eskimo kisses, and your opinion. Your uncomplicated, honest opinion.

Misty Nelson /

You can’t wait to grow up. All you want is to be bigger, and all I want is to freeze time. To keep you small and wild, steal a bit more of your magic.

Goodbye 3. I’ll watch you sail away on the pirate ship we built together, and I’ll wave goodbye to all the friends we’ve outgrown. Furry monsters, puppies, and guppies replaced by ninjas and superheroes.

My sweet boy, if only you knew the true value of the imagination you so eagerly trade for age. Every birthday will bring you a little closer to the real world. Every year, you will know a little more and believe a little less.

Hello 4. Please forgive me for not rushing to welcome you in. I’m sure you are lovely, and I know we will be great friends. Just give me little time. You see, there was this boy I fell in love with. And for a whole year, we built so many forts, and sand castles, and towers that almost touched the clouds.

Misty Nelson /