Metro-East Living

If you send your mom flowers on Mother's Day, do you need to send her a card, too?

Q. It's my first year away from home, so if I have flowers sent to my mom on Mother's Day with a little card attached from the florist, do I also need to mail a card to her? It seems my mom is obsessed with getting cards from me, and my siblings as well.

A. Probably all moms, or many moms, are "obsessed with cards" or appreciate cards from their children for their birthdays, Mother's Day, Christmas, and Easter or for no special reason at all. Moms often keep these cards in a special place, forever, and often reread them, along with the cards their children made for them in preschool or kindergarten. Difficult to explain why perhaps, to their children who may not have children of their own.

Therefore to answer your question: Receiving flowers is wonderful, as well as receiving that especially-worded card which says the things you don't often remember to say or which you sometimes feel uncomfortable saying. Yes, please send her a card in addition to the flowers.

Q. I usually have flowers sent to my mother on Mother's Day, but am beginning to be more practical, so would a blooming plant be better that she could actually plant in one of her flower beds, or is that being a little too practical?

A. The choice is up to you and, no, it would not be too practical to send her a blooming plant which she can then replant in one of her flower beds.

Q. If you have relatives (distant) who never bother with you until there is a wedding or baby shower, are you obligated to go or send a gift? Never see them again afterward.

A. Receiving an invitation from relatives you rarely get a chance to see is not always about wanting to receive a gift. Today's world is so very much busier and more hectic than when you and I were at the age of getting married and having children. More women are in the workforce with full-time jobs who honestly want to see more of their "distant" relatives and stay in touch with them, but find there just aren't enough hours in the day.

One way of letting you know they think of, and care about you, is to include you in the very special events taking place in their life in hopes you may be able to attend and share in the special memories surrounding those events. And, believe it or not, when you cannot attend, they cherish the gift you send, or a card with a note inside letting them know how much you care about them and your best wishes.

In between those invitations for special events, it may be up to us, the "older generation" to stay in touch with them more often with a short note or a card. Therefore, although you are not "obligated" to send a gift or a card, please consider sending a card at least.

Dianne Isbell is a local contributing writer. Send your etiquette questions to Dianne Isbell at Belleville News-Democrat, P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427, or email them to