A Mother Worth “Far Above Rubies”

Love isn’t a noun, it’s a verb and an action verb at that. My friend Rose Perrier knows all about love in action. She’s a mother of four. She is mother-love defined. She could model for Mary Cassatt. She doesn’t just talk about parenting, she lives it.

I’ve always wondered about that “woman of the year” or “mother of the year” award. It’s usually given to women who sit on committees or do big things in their community. Women of business, entertainment, culture or education. You know, the movers and shakers.

It seems to me, that the women who deserve the awards for motherhood are those who don’t have time to be a mover and shaker in their community. They are too busy caring for their children. Too busy doing the unsung and thankless jobs.

Mother Theresa said, “In this life, we cannot do great things. We can only do little things with great love.” That’s Rose’s modus operandi: changing diapers, nursing babies, calming fears, cuddling sleepy children, wiping noses, kissing owies, chauffeuring children, chaperoning teens.

Don’t get me wrong, she helps others out and in a big way. She’s a wonderful hostess. She helps out at her children’s schools. She remembers the teacher gifts and once bought her daughter’s classroom a new microwave just because she saw they needed one.

When our children were younger, we both home-schooled. I was the bright idea girl and she was the one who made them happen. From tea parties, to parade floats, to living history events to science club we have a plethora of good memories. She’s always the first one to sign up to help and the last two leave after clean-up.

Attachment parenting is an attractive buzzword right now. Women talk about it and write books about it. Rose lives attachment parenting. She puts her children before personal convenience. She has done this for 19 years.

She’s adamant about breast-feeding and puts her money where her mouth is. She’s volunteered for years as a La Leche mentor. Countless women (including me) owe Rose a debt of gratitude for her patient encouragement. She uses a sling instead of a plastic carrier.

It’s not that she has no other talent beyond motherhood. Rose was born into a loving Italian family. She speaks fluent Italian; don’t even get me started on her pasta and stuffed mushrooms. They are the stuff of fantasies.

She wears many hats, like good moms do: seamstress, herbalist, gardener, home maintenance, decorator, teacher, doctor mom. Like Charlotte the spider, she can “turn with ease from one thing to another”.

Rose is practical, thrifty and generous to a fault. When she redecorates, I always get first dibs on the secondhand furniture, rugs and decor. She’s very careful about what her family eats and only buys organic. When her daughter became a vegetarian, she created dozens of recipes.

She’s well-read and savvy at the same time. She’s honest, pragmatic, loyal and principled. Her first thought is always, “what is best for the children?” She’s got more common sense in her little toe than most people have in their whole body.

The Bible speaks in Proverbs 31 about a good wife’s worth being “far above rubies.” Rose has all the Proverbs woman’s attributes. When her father was ailing, she went every day to see him and bring him the special homemade soup he loved from her mother’s recipe.

When Oz gave the Tin Man his heart, he said, “Remember, a heart is not judged by how much you love others but by how much you are loved by others.” I hate to disagree with a wizard, but I think a heart’s worth is measured by both. Rose is loving and loved.

We’ve been through a lot together: death of parents, pregnancy and loss of babies and just about every childhood trial our combined eight kids could invent. For nearly 13 years, I’ve been fortunate to call Rose “friend”.