There is plenty to remember. Blanding was a gardener whose green thumb inspired widespread admiration -- and the fact that she could make just about anything grow in the middle of the Lexington Terrace housing project only increased her prestige. William Donald Schaefer used to stop by the garden when he was mayor, and bus drivers sometimes halted on Saratoga Street to point out the cotton plant that Blanding had coaxed along.
Some people use Mother's Day to reach out to women who have taken on the role of mother after their own mothers are gone -- or to other women who have lost their mothers.
Anne Murphy, a pediatric cardiologist at Johns Hopkins Children's Center, lost her mother to breast cancer when she was just 15. Some years, she sends a Mother's Day card to a friend or mentor, or to a favorite aunt. This year, Murphy will call her 18-year-old niece, who was the same age as Murphy when she lost her mother.
"I don't think it's a day to wallow in sadness, but rather a day to remember the good things and the good times," said Murphy, 49, of Towson.
A breast cancer survivor, Murphy also will take part in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer a week after Mother's Day in Boston, as a tribute to her mother and herself.
Children can help parents who have lost their own mothers deal with the holiday.
Edelman, who lost her mother as a teen-ager, has told her daughters how she used to help make breakfast in bed for her mother on Mother's Day.
Susan Goering, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, went to a children's movie with her young son and his father on the first Mother's Day after her mother died in 1997.
If their mothers are buried close by, many adult children visit their graves on Mother's Day.
Sharon Stoliaroff often uses the holiday to visit the grave of her mother, Helen I. Smith, who died in 2000 at the age of 81.
"She never failed to go for her own mother on Mother's Day," said Stoliaroff, a Chevy Chase psychologist.
"Every season there is something to do. Last year, as I recall, we planted flowers. You kind of clean up the grave because it is spring."
It is also a time to celebrate the family continuum, as Stoliaroff learned last Mother's Day.
She and her family visited her mother's grave on the way to Loyola College, where two nieces who attend Dartmouth College were playing lacrosse. One niece is named Lana -- a diminutive of Helen -- and, like the grandmother she is named for, is a fine athlete.
"To see Lana carry that forward is such a thrill to me," Stoliaroff said.
And as Stoliaroff was driving to the game, she got the kind of Mother's Day present only a mother could appreciate.
Her son, away for his first year in college, called with the news that he had made it unscathed through a skydiving trip.
Ideas for a day of tribute
For those who have lost a mother, Mother's Day can be a painful holiday. Here are ideas for acknowledging and even enjoying the day while paying tribute to your mother:
* Create a Mother's Day journal, in which you write a letter to your mother about what's happened over the past year. Consider it a formal update of all the things you've been wanting to tell her.
* Continue giving a Mother's Day gift, but make it to her favorite charity. Or do volunteer work that day in her memory.
* Make time during the day to talk about your mother with your own children as they honor you. Look at pictures, or tell stories about Mother's Days you shared.
* Do something your mother loved to do, whether it's visiting an art gallery, driving to the beach, or making and sharing a favorite family recipe.
* Honor your other "mother" -- that woman who's been your mentor, coach and friend in your mom's stead.
* Seek out a mother you know who has lost her child. Maybe you can be there for each other.