Diane Radford, M.D.

Mother’s Day and Margery

March 19, 2012

March 18th 2012 is Mothering Sunday in the UK. Mother’s Day across the pond falls on a different day than in the US. This was a bone of contention between my mother and me, for I was always getting it wrong. It seemed no matter how hard I tried, I either missed it or was late. The barrage of TV advertisements, newspaper ads and Hallmark store banners in the States, all told me, in clamant tones, that Mother’s day was the second Sunday in May. A true statement, of course, for a host of other countries such as Australia, Canada, Switzerland, even Samoa.

Mothering Sunday in the UK follows the Anglican Liturgical calendar, and falls on the fourth Sunday in Lent. The Nigerians and Irish also celebrate Mothering Sunday on that day. Easter is a moveable feast, thus the date of Mothering Sunday will change from year to year. For example, in 2011 it fell on April 3rd, in 2013 it will occur on

Margery Radford

Margery Radford

March 10th, and in 2014 March 30th. But it is never, never, not ever in May. Not once, never. So it never coincides with Mother’s day in the US; basically I was toast as far as remembering Mother’s Day was concerned.

We’d be on our usual Sunday afternoon transatlantic call from St. Louis to Troon (I called by 2pm on Sunday afternoon, as that was 8pm in Troon. I wanted to call before her bedtime). After the chitchat about our week she’d say,

“Have you forgotten?”

Well obviously, whatever it was (and I had a twinkling of a notion what it was), I had forgotten, but I tried to feign ignorance.

“Forgotten what?”

“Mother’s Day, you forgot Mother’s Day.”

Once again, I was in deep kaka.

I countered, “Mother’s Day isn’t until May, I have your card already, ready to send.”

“Well, we had Mothering Sunday services at St. Ninian’s today, so it’s today.”

There was no good recovery from this one, but I thought I had nothing to lose.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s Mother’s Day every day.”

Now there is some truth to that, when we look at how Mother’s Day is celebrated around the world, because it could always be Mother’s Day somewhere: in Norway, it’s the second Sunday in February; in early March (the eighth), Mothers are recognized in Albania, Macedonia and Serbia, to name a few. The vernal equinox, March 21, is the day motherhood is celebrated in Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and many other Arab countries. The Armenians choose April 7th. On the Iberian Peninsula, it’s the first Sunday in May. In Mexico it’s May 10th. In Paraguay Mothers are celebrated on May 15th, the same day as Dia de la Patria. The French honor Mother’s Day on the last Sunday in May, or the first Sunday in June, depending on when Pentecost falls. In Kenya, it’s the last Sunday in June. In Thailand it’s August 12, the birthday of Queen Sirikit. The Argentines have Dia de la Madre on the third Sunday of October, the Russians honor motherhood on the last Sunday in November, and the Indonesians December 22nd. So I did have a point, in retrospect.

“You are such a chancer, Diane Radford, a real patter-merchant.” She used the Scottish idiom for one with the gift of the gab.

I knew we were reconciled then, I was forgiven. She chuckled.

Over the years, I tried; I really tried to remember the correct day. There were years I sent cards for UK and US Mother’s Day, there were years I sent cards that arrived in between, late for one and early for the other. There were years I sent only cards for UK Mother’s Day (when I had UK calendar at home), and there were years I sent cards for US Mother’s Day. I have to say, I really got the most points when I sent a card for the UK date and one for the US; it was Mother’s Day in stereo.

Father’s Day falls on the same day in both the UK and the US, thank God. It is the third Sunday in June.  However, if you live in the Antipodes, in Australia and New Zealand it’s the first Sunday in September. It was easier for him. I’d send a card, make a phone call and say, “I love you Dad.”

“I love you too, poppet,” he would reply.

So advice to all, Mother’s Day in the States is on May 13th 2012, and Father’s Day is on June 17th. Send cards. Oh, and call too.


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  • DR Maggi

    What a good daughter you are!! I see you in your mom as well – what an adorable woman!! Guess all moms are alike; if mine doesn’t hear from all 5 kids each Sunday she is miffed!! Thanks for the reminder for 2012!

  • http://dianeradfordmd.com Diane Radford

    Thanks Maggi. I appreciate your comment. Best wishes.

  • Rborson49

    Diane, a wonderful glimpse into Margery. I wish I had met her (but your writing lets me do that in a different way).

    • http://dianeradfordmd.com Diane Radford

      Thanks so much. Margery would have loved to have met you too.