My mother, Louise Bellucci Cantoni, was many different things to each of her seven children. I am sixth in that line, so I know my memories and experiences may be different from that of my siblings. This is what I remember.
She worked part-time as a secretary while handling all six of us, until my youngest sister was born. In addition, she was a published author of several children’s books revolving around the lives of some of her favorite saints as well as humorous stories about life as a mom to her large brood.
I remember the typewriter often sitting on the kitchen table. She’d type a few lines, stir whatever was cooking on the stove then go back and type some more.
She managed the family budget, which was extremely tight. She scrimped and saved enough so that the 4 youngest could go to Catholic school. She had a strong faith and wanted our lives to be based on those principles.
My artistic skills come from her. Though she had limited time to paint or draw ( I often surprised her with the news that I had “volunteered” her services to my teacher.) she was always doodling while she chatted on the phone with her best friend, her sister “K” or had a brief moment to herself.
One of the subjects of this random doodling was the alphabet. She had absolutely perfect penmanship. My own calligraphy skills are another trait inherited from her.
She volunteered for several organizations, the March of Dimes is one I remember in particular. I used to go door to door with her to collect the dimes. She passed on the clothes we had, some already hand me downs, to those in need.
She sewed prom dresses and made gifts of crocheted ponchos and knitted baby blankets.
She recycled before it was cool. She grew some of her own vegetables and composted and enjoyed tending to the small patches of flowers she planted. She sang songs in her beautiful lilting voice while she was doing chores around the house.
She passed away at the early age of 58. She never watched me get married. She never knew my children. She never got to see how I turned out.
But as a mother, what I know is that she did the one thing that is essential for helping your children become good people. She modeled being one.
Throughout the years when I’ve struggled to balance the work that I love with being a mom and wife I think of her. Every time I give to my favorite charity, clean out a closet and schedule the donation truck for pick up, her compassion for others comes to mind. When I recycle or see purple iris, I think of her. As I listen to the whir of my sewing machine while working on a quilt or a tote bag to give as a gift, her numerous masterpieces come to mind.
As I sit at my art table, creating letters and drawing pictures, while happily singing an old tune she once sang, I give a prayer of thanks that my mother taught me more than she’ll ever know just by being herself.
In honor of my mother and yours, whether she is still with you or not, I invite you to download this “My mother is the person who…” note. Click here to download
I created it using my new calligraphy font, borders and illustrations that will be released soon on myfonts.com. I’m hoping to come up with a font name that will honor of my mother, her sister Kay and my Uncle Jerry Bellucci. All three had a large part in my becoming an artist.
Take a minute to write down a few things about your mother : who she is/was and what intangibles she gave you. If you’re lucky enough to still have her in your life, share it with her.
If you care to share it with me, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It would make my mom very proud.
I love you, Mom.