Often, young mothers join clubs and mothers’ groups because they are overwhelmed and want to talk to someone who knows what they are going through.
Del Calderini joined the Illinois Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs for the opposite reason: she was perfectly in her element as a mom of multiples and wanted to help other women who were not.
Calderini is the oldest of eight siblings, two of whom are multiples, so motherhood, she said, came easy.
“To me, it was natural,” she said. “It’s easy for me, but it may not be for this young lady who didn’t know what to expect. I wanted to be a mentor and support person. That was my goal.”
Calderini’s twins – Paula and Pamela – are 44 now, but Calderini remains dedicated to and active with the organization she said gives families so much.
“We raise money for charities – cancer, special needs – we’ve raised millions in the 50 years the club has been around,” she said. “We have a scholarship program to help mothers go back to school. It’s social, it’s educational ... it’s like having your sorority in college. You just want to have that thing in common that makes you belong.”
As we had coffee last week, I was struck by Calderini’s presence – she’s one of those people who radiate peace and positive energy. I’ve spent my share of time as a mother at my wits’ end, and my kids are both singles. I can imagine for a mother overwhelmed by the work of caring for multiple babies, having someone like Calderini to talk her through it could be a godsend.
“You do things pretty much the same as a mom with one baby, it’s just more work,” she said. “And it’s expensive. We have sales, where mothers can sell the equipment they don’t need anymore and other mothers can buy it for less than they would have to pay at the store – that is a big help.”
Calderini, who had four more children after the twins and now has 12 grandchildren, said the Mothers of Twins Club became her family’s social outlet – the kids had play dates, the moms had outings, there were family parties for everyone. She continues to be an active part of planning conferences and conventions, where keynote speakers talk about such topics as whether to keep twins in the same class at school or split them up, organizational skills for mothers and women’s self-defense.
She also works at the switchboard at Kishwaukee Community Hospital, and says she is inspired by an 81-year-old coworker who still works full time.
“My husband keeps asking when I’m going to give it up, but I think I’m a volunteer-aholic,” she said. “Once you’re hooked, you can’t just stop.”
Calderini has a strong faith in people, especially in women, and in their ability to effect change.
“If women are busy and productive and have a goal to reach, everyone is happy,” she said. “Life is too short to be lazy. You have to do for others. Love is wanting more for others than you do for yourself.” For more information about the club, visit www.iomotc.org.
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