I can’t remember how I first stumbled across Melanie Shankle’s blog Big Mama, but I know it was years ago and I quickly became a fan of her down-home writing style. She blogs about everything from shopping and road trips to fashion styles to the joys and trials of raising her daughter, Caroline. Now she’s written a book about motherhood, and it has her characteristic take on life.
Sparkly Green Earrings: Catching the Light at Every Turn isn’t a book of advice filled with how-to lists to ensure you’re giving your children all the author feels they need from life. It doesn’t have steps to follow and it isn’t full of smug stories about how the author only feeds her children broccoli and kale for snacks. Instead, this is a book cram-jammed with humor, life, and Mexican food–as in the pseudo-kind served by Taco Bell. It’s a look at motherhood in the trenches–catching throw-up in your hands, agonizing through hours of ballet and soccer practice, letting your child choose her own clothes for school, dealing with the carpool lane at the local school and the reality that not all teachers are stellar educators. As with most of us, Melanie had motherhood all figured out–before her child was born. But she’s discovered that even though the reality is messier and heart-breaking and even frightening, it is at the same time so much better than she could have imagined before Caroline arrived.
Sparkly Green Earrings is a memoir of a segment of Melanie’s life, from the time she and her husband Perry began to consider having a child to now, when Caroline is 8 years old and in elementary school and Melanie is in the throes of clothing debates, summertime road trips, and deciding when to get ears pierced. It’s an account of a difficult and complicated miscarriage, of toilet-training a toddler who has to be trained in order to advance at preschool, of the heartbreak of sending her off to kindergarten, of the joys of watching her daughter develop her own personality and way of looking at things.
Along the way, we see Melanie leaning on God during hard times, and looking to Scripture for comfort. We see tender moments, the high parts of motherhood. We learn why Melanie is called “Big Mama”–it’s from when Caroline was learning to use the potty like a Big Girl and decided “big” was the highest compliment, and began calling her mother “Big Mama.” (I love this story. It reminds me of when my oldest went through the stage we refer to as the “Inappropriate Compliment” stage. Oh those are some happy memories. I still blush when I think about it.) And we see Melanie’s fierce love for her daughter shining through. Sparkly Green Earrings offers a light-hearted take on mothering that is an enjoyable read, like swapping stories with your good friend over coffee.
I’m thrilled to announce one of you can win your own copy (U.S. shipping addresses only). Use the Rafflecopter form to enter this giveaway. New to Rafflecopter? Watch this 45-second video on how to enter!