See ya later alligator! – – After a while, crocodile!
Good-byes always seem to be just around the corner in military life. But if they make you want to cry crocodile-size tears, why are they called GOOD-byes instead of BAD-byes? If mom ships out or dad deploys, “sad” may be the only adjective to describe your mood. The bright side may feel impossibly far away.
So if it feels like you’re swimming in a swamp of sadness, then it may be time to embrace the sadness. Throw yourself a monumental pity party! Yes, that’s right—a glaringly gloomy, dismally drab, perfectly pessimistic, pity party!
Tears are okay! Pouting is allowed! Whine all you want!
If you need some time to just be sad, follow these 5 simple steps to throwing the perfect pity party:
1. The Invitation.
A pity party is a time to be sad.
When our neighbor’s dad deployed (3 duty stations ago) his wife and two mil-kids would designate the day he left as their one and only “Sad Day.” That doesn’t mean they never felt gloomy on other days, but it was their way of making the doldrums of deployment relevant.
On “D” day, they would share farewell hugs, bid their daddy solider good-bye, and then march back home, promptly put on PJs and spend the rest of the day being unapologetically sad. They allowed themselves to be the guests at their very own pity party, and by doing so, it made it easier for them to concentrate on happiness as they counted down to homecoming.
With the pity party in the past, they took great effort to turn frowns up-side-down and focus on all things happy.
2. The Guests.
Not everyone gets sad at the same time. That’s okay! If your family doesn’t want to designate a “Pity Party Day,” do what suits your sadness best! You can be your own guest—but let others know if it’s your “sad day” so they can be supportive.
3. The Activities.
Sometimes when people are sad, they prefer to be quiet. Others like to talk about their feelings or busy themselves with an activity. When it’s your pity party, you get to make all the pity party rules. Here are some ideas:
Stomp – When you’re down in the dumps, does it make you feel better to stomp? Sometimes sad days can also feel like mad days. A pity party is a perfect to roll out that bubble wrap you used in the last move and stomp, hop and pop the sadness and madness right out of you.
Scribble – Does a clean, neat sheet of paper beg to be covered in scribbles? Scribble carelessly fast and wild or scribble slowly and deliberately—whatever suits your fancy! If being extra creative is your favorite thing to do when you’re feeling down and out, then take your scribbles to the next level—make a pattern with your lines or form a hidden picture—and create a zentangle-inspired creation.
Write a poem – Turn a day that’s bad and sad into a poem that’s glad and rad (rhyming not required). Some of literature’s most famous fellows created beloved poems inspired by sad times. Rhyme or write free style and let your sad thoughts flow into poetic verse. Not feeling poetic? Then make a list of what makes you sad—Talk about that list with someone you love and trust!
Compose a song (or sing the saddest song you know) – Even if you can’t hold a tune, music can play a big role in affecting a person’s mood. Sometimes soft, slow songs provide comfort, while some people prefer to lift sadness with a good beat and tapping feet. Your pity party could turn into a dance party in your living room!
Hike – Fresh air is always good for the soul, so if you’re sad, take your pity party outside. Exercise, such as walking, releases endorphins that can make you feel better.
Nap – Curl up with a soft blanket and sleep away your blues. If you have one, snuggle with your Daddy Doll!
Watch a movie – Turn on a favorite flick and be as sullen as you’d like. If the movie lifts your spirits, try your hand at acting! Pretend you’re winning an Oscar for the saddest performance and give an acceptance speech!
Bake – Great parties have food, right? Did you know there’s an entire category of foods referred to as comfort foods? Guests may want several helpings of comfort at a pity party! What are your favorite comfort foods?
4. The Party Favors.
When you’re feeling sad, what are some of your favorite things? A hug? A stuffed animal? A playlist of favorite tunes? A good book? Spoil yourself and give yourself the gift of just doing whatever makes getting through sad times easiest—spend time with a good friend or family member, write a note to the person you miss, or maybe just enjoy some alone time.
5. The Thank-You.
Have you ever written a thank-you note when you have received a gift? Thank you notes express sincere appreciation. But, have you ever thanked yourself? After a pity-party, remind yourself how great it is to just be you—sad you, happy you, any-kind-of-emotion you. When your sadness subsides, be thankful that the rain can reveal a rainbow, and celebrate the many sunny sides of military life.
It’s nice when you can say farewell to sadness.
But when it’s a “sad-bye” instead of a “good-bye,”
try these fun sayings instead:
Better swish jelly fish!
Take care, polar bear!
Come back soon, big baboon!
Let’s shake, rattlesnake!
Out the door, dinosaur!
Ciao, ciao moo cow!
Wave good-bye, Dragonfly!
In a few weeks, parakeets!
Time to go, buffalo!
Guten Tag, hoppin’ frog! (If you’re stationed in Germany)
Hurry up, buttercup!
Gotta fly, walleye!
— written by Katherine Thebeau for Chameleon Kids