Melanie Shankle lives in San Antonio, Texas with her husband, Perry, and daughter, Caroline. She graduated from Texas A&M in 1994 while possibly on scholastic probation. Melanie began blogging in July 2006 when she started her blog, Big Mama. She’s also a regular contributor to The Pioneer Woman. In her spare time she likes to shop good sales, watch too much television and laugh at things that are sometimes inappropriate. Her first book, Sparkly Green Earrings, was released in February 2013.
I had big plans for today. I’d signed up to try a new exercise class because I realized over the weekend that it will officially be swimsuit season in less than two months and, after I got done with my wailing and gnashing of teeth, decided that exercise is probably a better solution than denial. (Which is a workout all of its own, but that’s another story.)
And then I’d made an appointment for the Genius Bar at my local Apple store because my phone is about to put me in a home if it doesn’t quit dying at the drop of a hat when it shows it still has 54% battery power left. (And NO, dear Geniuses, I do not want to reset it. AGAIN.)
But then I got a call from the school nurse around 9:00 a.m. She informed me that my daughter, Caroline, was in her office with what appeared to be the first stages of a dreaded stomach bug that has been going around. And so, just like that, my day took a turn. Exercise (not so sadly) will have to wait. The iPhone will live to die on me another day or in the next ten minutes. Because my day became about my sweet girl who wasn’t feeling well and needed her mama.
And here’s the truth. While I hate it when she’s sick, the day ended up feeling like a gift.
The last few days have been so busy. Filled with soccer practice and soccer games and getting ready for the school musical and trying to figure out what to cook for dinner. And I’ve been impatient. I’ve snapped. I’ve said, “HURRY UP!” more than I really want to admit. There may have been one really low point when I asked, “What in the world were you thinking?”
Because I get in a rush to get it all done and I drag her with me. I forget how fast these days go by anyway and that the days of soccer practice and school musicals will be gone in a blink of the eye. And a day will come when I’ll wish that I was waiting on someone to tie their shoes or make one more twirl in front of the mirror to admire their new skirt.
When I’d sent her off to school earlier in the day, I felt sad to see her go. I knew I’d been too impatient and too quick to jump on every little thing. I was filled with regret as I watched her sweet little ponytail sway back and forth as she followed her daddy out to the car.
So in many ways the call from the nurse was like a do over. We cuddled on the couch under a blanket, we watched movies and we played a few rounds of Candyland. I scratched her back and put a cold cloth on her head and it was like I could feel the stress of the last week just melting off of both of us.
We needed a day. I needed a second chance.
And sometimes that’s what motherhood looks like. Second chances. And third chances. And fourth chances.
Because while all of us want to do everything right and be the mom who is never late to carpool pickup or would never grab a bag of Doritos out of our child’s hand because they keep crunching them so loudly, we’re only human. We’re going to make mistakes and we have to give ourselves grace.
I feel like we’re a generation of women who decided we could do it better than the generation that came before us. Or maybe that’s just me because my mom and I have always had a difficult relationship. We’re going to make our kids wear helmets and call home every five minutes and eat all organic foods and not allow them out of our sight until they’re twenty-five.
But the reality is that our moms, by and large, did the best they could. And, in turn, we’re doing the best we can.
Sometimes we need to find the laughter and the joy and the grace that God intended to be a part of motherhood. How else can you explain the fact that he doesn’t send us our kids already potty-trained?
And that’s why I wrote Sparkly Green Earrings. Yes, it’s a love letter to my daughter. But it’s also a love letter to my fellow moms who are out there doing the best we can. It’s a reminder that we need to find the laughter as we raise our littles.
The laughter on the days we feel like crying and the laughter when our child tells us we have a mustache.
Because it’s all an extravagant gift from God. It’s our own personal ministry right under our roofs.
Even on the days we need a second chance.
*I am so excited to be giving away TWO copies of Sparkly Green Earrings in my previous post from Monday.
For a chance to win a copy, please click on over here and leave a comment.
You can purchase a copy here.
To find out more you can visit my book page here.
And for the book trailer, please click here, or watch below.
Sparkly Green Earrings Trailer
By: Melanie, Big MamaLeave a Comment
Beth Coulton says
And even when they leave our sight at 25, we continue to screw up by having our momma hands still a bit too tightly all over their lives, and as they squirm out of our clenched fists and want their independence for a while, our hearts hurt and we have to learn how to do this all over again, this having an adult child!
So, so true!
Thank you so much for being an encourager. Im so thankful to God for all the chances we get in every aspect of our lives…do overs seem to be needed more and more for me.
Sweet, sweet words…..that this Mamaneeded this very morning.
I keep hearing so much about this book….looking forward to getting my hands on a copy. May it hold healing power from Him – for every woman that picks it up for a read. Yes, Lord – speak through it.
Dena Dyer says
How do I love this post? Let me count the ways…
I love that you admit your mistakes.
I love your humor.
I love that you took the second chance God offered you, and learned something from it, and wrote it down for the rest of us.
Thanks, so much. I needed it today.
I know this feeling well–but then on the third day of being home with the child who just cannot shake the virus, well, it’s really hard. That’s where I am today.
Kristen Strong says
Love your heart, Melanie. You are a treasure.
Ann Kroeker says
Slowing down was forced on you, and became a gift. Oh, that we might learn to live slow enough every day–finding the right pace, the right attention, the right way to get things done and love all along the way, at every step! But few of us do as we get swept back into busy and hurry and so…thank God for second, third, fifteenth chances.
Good words to create vision for a slower pace, and good words to offer grace to every weary, distracted mom.
I absolutely loved Sparkly Green Earrings! Very well written! I recommended it to all of my friends. Can’t wait for Melanie’s next book to come out.
Dedra Vick says
I have not read the book yet but I keep hearing great things about it. I follow you on twitter and you make me laugh with your wit & humor. My baby son(25 years old) is a deputy for our county. Man! you talk about worry! It has increased my prayer life to the fullest for his protection. Cherish those years with that little lady. Soon you will start wondering when was the last time she sat in my lap, or asked me to tuck her in, or ….. Time flies by and it looks like you realize it.
Amanda Castillo says
I just recently found your blog and i enjoyed reading it. I remember bringing my baby girl home from the hospital and thanking God for this gift. I looked at her and told her someday I will be sending you off to college to become the young person you are destined to be. With the blink of an eye she is 20 and a successful student in college. I am really glad you took the day with your daughter and cuddled with her. You see I am a nurse and I did not take those days with my kids. I worked weekends and holidays and someone else took care of them when they were sick. I felt that I needed to be with really sick people who needed me. I also know that it was my choice to choose that profession with the hours, however, that does not make up for taking some time to give freely, without boundries or agendas, our time to our little people who will be ours for a short time. They grow up with strong roots and branch out on their own. Savor all the time you can good, bad . The time we have is limited but the memories we make with them last a lifetime. My children are older now- 20, 16, and 15. I now take the time to kiss them good bye in the morning and tell them to be blessed . When life is so busy we dont see or hear them except to pick them up from destination to destination, pull out of “life” for a minute or two, and be with your littles. It is never too late. Bless you and the work you do . You are an inspiration to us all. I have your book and cant wait to read it.
“The time we have is limited but the memories we make with them last a lifetime.”
Wow. Thank you Amanda.
Oh, so needing second and third chances…
I’ve recently started my relationship with God. I’m becoming more aware and open to the signs He gives me to slow down, to pay attention to what is more important. Thank you for reminding me that we do get more than one swing at this mama gig!
Beth Williams says
With kids or not we all need do over days, weeks and perhaps even years. This has been a rather bad year for me thus far. I have a tear in my shoulder & have seen 4+ doctors, had my first MRI, Ortho doc & now Physical Therapy to hopefully fix it. Add to that my job is driving me crazy (nuts), so that I wish I could leave & move on to something else.
God will politely give me a good do-over & forgive me for all my mistakes! Praise the Lord!
Wow! This hit home. So many times we are in a hurry and don’t stop and just enjoy the moment the time we have with our kids. I look at mine and think how fast they are growing and cry because I feel i didn’t get to enjoy them as much as I wanted when they were younger because of work. They are pre-teens now and I am for second chances!
I am glad for second chances!
Fashion Friday: Edition I love the 70s - Big Mama says
[…] I also forgot to mention that I wrote a couple of posts over on Incourage earlier this week in case you want to read […]
Love your post. My daughter is almost 14 and gone are the panic days we used to have when we got the dreaded call from school. I don’t even call my husband to see if his schedule is better and more open to a sick day. I cancel my schedule for the day and go get her…because I know it’s a nice slow day and some time together. LOVE a good sick day (as long as she isn’t critically sick!).
Well I am sitting here in tears. Wow! This makes me feel like I am not alone in my mess ups and my feelings of guilt. I don’t know about you but I walked out of the hospital from delivering my little girl with guilt! What is up with that? It has only gotten worse. I feel I am never worthy of my daughter…..like she deserves so much more than me. I am working through these feelings, but its hard. I have so many days I feel I need second chances. Then I feel worse about those moments because I honestly believed no other mother (that I see anyway) seem to have them. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story. Thanking you for reminding me of God’s Grace!
Rena Gunther says
Melanie, your words are healing balm. And can I just say that your hair in that picture is perfection.