She would be at Hallmark the day after Christmas for the half-priced ornaments to add to our already full Christmas Tree for the next year.
She would spend hours putting out her Christmas Village house and arranging cotton wads to look like snow.
She would bake her Mother’s Italian Christmas cookies and fill the house with the smells of holiday comfort and love while she listened to her favorite Christmas music, with Frank Sinatra in high rotation.
Each year, when “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” would play, Mom would re-tell me how it reminded her of the Christmases in the early 1950’s as she and my grandparents would wait for word from their son who was away in the military.
My mother, Ellie, passed in October of 2011. As my first Christmas without her was creeping up, I couldn’t believe how much I was dreading a holiday that I used to love so much.
Every Christmas decoration, commercial and holiday scent made me burst into tears. I wanted to hide from it all.
One night when I was home alone, I played all Mom’s favorite Christmas songs and wept as each song flooded my brain with memories of my incredible Mom.
“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” brought me to my knees and I allowed myself to sob as long and as loud as I needed to. After that, I began to cry a bit less and smile a bit more.
I’ll never stop missing my Mom, especially at Christmas time but allowing myself to be happy and enjoy the holidays feels as though Mom still is enjoying them, too.
Jenny Montalbano is from Astoria, Queens, New York and enjoys her family and friends. Her mother, Eleanor, was a lifelong friend of my Godmother and thus I had the pleasure of enjoying her company at family events. She was an amazing woman. To read the comments on my Facebook invitation, click here.