What to do when you are sad?


I feel inspired to share a recent FK story (my daughter).

She went on a trip to the zoo with one of her Grandma’s recently. They had a BLAST. After the zoo they had lunch at Whole Foods, then stopped at Learning Express to pick out a toy. It is so overwhelming there, so many neat things, so hard to pick just one… Well after looking and looking she decided on this little bag. She thought it had doctor toys in it and talked the whole way home about how excited she was to play with it and how she wanted to be a doctor.

When she got home I helped her open it up and it had baby toys in it – a little mirror, keys, something to chew on. .. She was so heart broken. this was not at all what she thought she had selected. She got so upset – started sulking around and said she had a sad day. The whole day was so sad, she had wanted to have a fun day, but it was just a sad day and she was so sad. She told us all how sad she was and even offered a very classy theatrical performance with a song and slow dance to embrace how sad she was. (It was hard not to laugh – but the fact was, she was being sincere – this was no laughing matter – She was sincerely upset.) Her {Grandma} felt bad that she was saying she had such a sad day, but I ensured her that I knew she had a fun day – that she was just upset about the toy and it taken over her emotions.

Well I knew good and well she had a very fun day .. at the zoo .. at the restaurant .. at Learning Express – but it was so clouded with the disappointment of trying SO hard to pick the ONE thing she wanted and then pick the wrong thing.

How many times do we do that? Allow one negative experience to cloud over all the positives we have? I know I have and I was determined to help her see beyond this. I was not going to tell her it was silly or wrong to feel sad – because it is not silly or wrong. I was not going to tell her to go tell her {Grandma} she had fun – when she obviously felt in that moment that she did not – but I was going to figure out how to help her see past this dark cloud.

At night I often tell FK a “Penelopie story” – it is a made up story about a tiny ant. The ant usually has an adventure or struggle similar to one FK recently experienced and in the story we talk about how Penelopie deals with it.

Well I told a Penelopie story about an ant that went to the zoo, she had a great day, but she picked out a toy and once she got it home is was not what she thought it was going to be and she felt so sad. Penelopie’s momma told her that when she feels sad she likes to think about something that makes her happy and she starts feeling happy again. So Penelopie started thinking of all the happy things she had done that day … and at that point FK stopped me …

She was so excited and said, ” I know what happened today! I had a FUN day! I just thought I had a sad day because of the toy, but I did not – I had a FUN day! I must call {Grandma} in the morning and tell her I had a FUN day!”

She was so excited she was kicking her feet and jumping up and down!

We went to sleep happy and first thing the next morning she jumped up asking to call her {Grandma} to tell her she had a fun day!

(it gets better 🙂 )

A few days went by and I was feeling overwhelmed. I was feeling a physically sluggish and mentally just a bit fried. I had not said much about it – but FK came up to me and said, “Would you like to think about something that makes you happy?”

I was quite shocked by her statement to me in a moment in my life where I had allowed myself to slip. …. as soon as I could catch my breath I said, “YES – I would, what a great idea” …  and with that we went out on the porch and sat in the warm breeze – feeling happy.

So what to do when we are sad? … Think of something that makes us feel happy 🙂 Not always easy to do, but simple all the same!


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