Today, Mom's the word

The Baltimore Sun

Every family has its own Mother's Day traditions.

Mable Brown gets pampered by her nine children. Lydia Ruppert goes on a picnic. And Jeanne Litvin is treated to a lunch and a musical performance.

But it isn't the gifts that mean the most - it's spending time with her children, Litvin said.

"Being a mother is the most important thing that I will ever do in my life," said Litvin, who doesn't give her age. "People without children miss out on a lot. There's nothing like hearing from your children, not just on Mother's Day, but any day."

Like many other mothers, these women have events planned for them, but not all their children can make it home for the holiday. Despite the distance, some local mothers say their children have found ways to bridge the gap and honor them on their day.

The women pointed to phone calls, flowering plants, money and flowers among the gifts from their children who live out of state.

In 2006, about 3.7 million bouquets of flowers were purchased around the country for Mother's Day, according to the Flowers and Plant Association.

Although nationally, florists are reporting a decline in business, local businesses are seeing the same or a higher demand for flowers, said Charles Wise, owner of The Greenery, a florist in Abingdon.

Starting on Tuesday night, his employees worked around the clock to make about 400 flower arrangements for Mother's Day, said Wise, who purchased The Greenery in December and owned another floral shop before that.

To fill the orders, he purchased about 1,000 roses and 500 carnations to make arrangements that he started delivering on Thursday, he said.

"I think flowers are the most popular Mother's Day tradition because of the aroma and the way a bouquet makes women smile," he said. "When someone receives a bright bunch of flowers, it makes them feel good."

Margie Fauci, owner of the Bel Air Florist, agreed.

"Flowers symbolize birth and loveliness," she said. "But the reason why Mother's Day is our busiest time is that everyone has, or had, a mother. Flowers are an easy fix for children who don't live nearby."

Fauci said that the shop sells hundreds of orders for traditional roses, in soft colors such as peach, pink and lavender, as well as unusual flowers such as orchids and snapdragons. She has also noticed a growing demand for peace lilies, she said.

"Sometimes people want some low-maintenance plant, so we recommend a peace lily," she said. "It's a glossy green plant that requires very little maintenance."

Occasionally, people ask the florists to include a box of chocolates or a piece of Waterford crystal if their mothers are collectors, Fauci said. "We always try to fill their requests. One time, someone asked us to sing when we delivered the flowers. We had an employee who had a beautiful voice, and she sang, 'You Are My Sunshine.' "

Fauci plants her mother's garden for Mother's Day.

"By doing her garden, I make sure she gets color and beauty for the season, and she doesn't have to break her back doing all the work," Fauci said.

Although women began celebrating Mother's Day in the United States in 1908, it wasn't until 1914 that President Woodrow Wilson declared the second Sunday in May as the official Mother's Day.

Since its inception, even young children have found ways to surprise their moms.

Maybe it was a trip to the ballet or the theater. Or perhaps it was the time the youngsters made their mothers breakfast in bed.

But when the children are grown, and live in different parts of the country, the child's presence makes mothers feel appreciated and loved. Some local moms shared how their children make their day special.

Brown has a full house on Mother's Day.

Starting on Thursday, her nine children travel from New Jersey to her Edgewood home. From the moment they arrive, Brown said she is pampered.

They run errands, clean the house, shower her with gifts and help with the garden. On Mother's Day, they treat her to a dinner of turkey and ham. It's a feast fit for a queen, she said.

"They make me feel so special," said the 87-year-old, who has 16 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren. "I don't have to do anything or pay for anything. They do it for me, and they never miss a year. I'm glad they keep coming home. Some mothers don't see their children year after year. I'm a very lucky mother."

Mary Moore's five children live all over the country and aren't always able to make it home, she said. Three of her children send her flowers, or call from their homes in Georgia, North Carolina and Texas.

Another child from Baltimore sends flowers, and her daughter in Joppatowne, with whom she lives, takes her out for a special dinner, the 70-year-old said.

"No matter whether they make it here or not, they all make me feel special," she said.

This year, Lydia Ruppert is spending the day by going on a picnic near the Susquehanna River with one of her daughters, while the other two children usually call or send a gift, she said.

"Mother's Day for me is the day my children remember me, and it's the day when I remember my mother," said Ruppert, 80, of Joppatowne. "I remember what a wonderful and loving person she was ... . After that, the rest of it is just show."

For Mary Jarvis, the day includes dinner and flowers, she said.

"On Mother's Day, I am glad to have children who respect me, and visit me," said Jarvis, 81, of Abingdon. "They call me mother, instead of mom, which of course is more respectful. They always make me feel special."

Seeing her children on Mother's Day is the only gift that Lorraine Cammarta needs, she said.

Five of her six children live in Maryland, in Joppatowne, Catonsville, Rosedale, Perry Hall, and Essex, and they take her out for dinner, she said. The sixth child lives in Georgia, and she calls, Cammarta said.

"Being a mother means everything to me," said Cammarta, 77, of Edgewood, as eyes filled with tears. "I feel loved no matter what they do. To be with my children, and to see them all get along, means so much. It makes me cry just thinking about it."

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