Lauren Springer of Fiddleheads in Cape Elizabeth puts together a bouquet of flowers for a Mother’s Day order Friday as she answers a customer’s questions over the phone. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Mother’s Day this year will be unlike any other. The reason is rather obvious.

Closed restaurants mean no plentiful brunches. Social distancing means a cup of tea or coffee side by side with mom is out. And if mom is in an assisted living center, restrictions on visits and social distancing requirements mean a hug from a grandchild is forbidden.

Still, Mainers are planning to celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday.

An assisted living center in Hallowell is even putting on a parade – family members will drive by as residents are brought out front to wave and blow kisses, said Matthew Walters, an owner of Woodlands Senior Living, which has about 600 residents in 15 Maine assisted living and memory care centers for people with Alzheimer’s, dementia or other memory problems.

About 70 family members have said they will take part, Walters said.

Most of the family-owned company’s centers would typically have a tea party for residents who are mothers and their relatives on Mother’s Day, he said. Family members often would have dinner with their mothers, or take them out to brunch or dinner.

Those options are out this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, Walters said. Assisted living and other senior centers are considered particularly high-risk for an outbreak.

In its place are porch visits, in which a resident can sit outside with a family member at least 6 feet away, if the weather is nice. Walters said most of his centers also offer “window visits,” with a resident sitting inside and talking with relatives outside, through a closed window.

“It’s obviously a little different this year,” he said. “You want to balance emotional health and well-being” offered by family visits “with health and safety.”

Other institutions are adapting this year for Mother’s Day as well.

St. Hyacinth Church of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Westbrook will be offering drive-thru blessings Sunday from 11 a.m. to noon. Two deacons will be at portable outdoor altars where they will bless occupants of cars as they drive slowly past. Mothers also will be offered flowers, distributed in a way that complies with social distancing rules, church officials said.

Some Mainers, perhaps guilty over a lack of visits with their mothers due to the statewide stay-at-home order, are going in a bit heavy on Mother’s Day.

Lauren Springer, who owns the Fiddleheads florist shop on Shore Road in Cape Elizabeth, said she had to cease taking delivery orders Friday afternoon and was down to vases of tulips as the only products she had left for curbside pickup. She expected those to be gone by the end of the day.

“People are taking it really seriously, and they want to make a gesture,” Springer said.

This is Springer’s busiest Mother’s Day in the nine years she’s been in business, she said. It’s coupled with some shortages, because flowers are often sent from South America as cargo aboard passenger flights, which are down significantly because of the pandemic. Her wholesaler in Massachusetts just reopened recently after being shut down for a week.

Springer’s shop was closed for more than a month until last week and hasn’t yet reopened for walk-in customers.

But while the crush of Mother’s Day orders means a lot of work for Springer, her delivery driver, a designer and a part-time worker handling web orders, it’s going to have to last for a bit, she said.

“This is a high we’re going to have to ride for a while,” she said, with most weddings and graduations canceled due to the pandemic.

Old Port Candy Co. owner Anna Largay outside the shop on Friday Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Anna Largay, the owner of Old Port Candy Co. in Portland, said she was “slammed” last week with orders. She had lay off her seven employees when the state’s stringent business restrictions meant she had to close her Fore Street store to walk-in customers, instead offering curbside pickup only, so she appreciated the uptick in business.

She said chocolates and fudge are popular choices for moms, and she sent out her last batch of mail-order gift boxes Thursday. But she misses the customers who used to frequent her shop from nearby offices.

“All the office people, they had (candy) addictions they had to feed,” she said.

Business for Mother’s Day also has been surprisingly robust at Broadway Gardens Greenhouses garden center and nursery in South Portland, manager Andrea Tubbs said.

“People are still buying gift cards and hanging baskets,” she said.

Tubbs expected to be sold out of cut flowers before Sunday, although she only ordered about one-third of the number she normally orders from her supplier, expecting sales to be down.

But overall business has been pretty solid leading into the holiday, she said, buoyed by a lot of stay-at-home workers tackling long-delayed yardwork.

Tubbs said she envisioned a lot of people looking out their windows and asking, “What the hell has happened here over the last 20 years?”

Still, Tubbs said, she thinks spirits will be buoyed if people get together with mom to plant a tree or a shrub Sunday.

“Plants and gardening is very much therapy for a lot of people,” she said.


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