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Leap Year Baby

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celebrating-leap-day-birthday Andrew Olney/Photodisc/Thinkstock

February 29th or Leap Day is the extra day in the month of February that only happens once every four years. Would you consider that birthday for your baby as a special day or an unfortunate day to be born? Would you ever schedule a C-section or want to be induced on that day?

A leap day birthday is only once every four years. Ever thought about how to explain that to a child that is just starting to read a calendar in school?

Leap year 2012 is a year that I have been looking forward to. February 29th happens to be my birthday. I actually really like my birthday.

I get to take advantage of all the young jokes and never tell my real age. People tend to remember it because it is so unusual. I consider it a great birthday.

It wasn’t always this way. As a child, I remember learning about months and studying calendars in school. It was during kindergarten one day, when all the kids huddled around the teacher on a brightly colored rug. She had a large calendar and was handing out cards with each student’s birthday.

We flipped through the months and pointed out holidays and the special birthdays of all the friends in class. With many January birthdays, the first month seemed to take a long time to get through.

As our teacher flipped the page, I was very excited to match the word, FEBRUARY, at the top of the calendar to the word written on my card. We found the other birthdays and Valentine’s Day but as I looked at the bottom of the page, my birthday wasn’t there.

I stretched my neck to look over the kids in front of me but it didn’t help. I looked again. No February 29th.

I held tightly onto the thin paper in my hand as she flipped the page to March. I could feel the skin on my ears burning as they flushed red, just as each remaining child found their birthday on the calendar months.

Once the exercise was over, all the kids moved onto the next thing. All except one little girl with dark hair and a sad face.

I showed my teacher my birthday on the card and asked her why it wasn’t on the calendar. “You were born on leap day,” she explained. “Your real birthday is only once every four years.”

That didn’t make it better. Even a five year old knows that isn’t fair.

I was confused. I could remember having birthday celebrations but wondered why I didn’t have a birthday on the calendar.

A lump sat in my throat for the rest of afternoon until my Mom picked me up from school. I could barely get to the car before the tears began to flow down my face.

“What’s wrong?” My mother asked. “I don’t have a birthday like everyone else!” I blurted out through my sobs.

“That’s right.” My mom calmly told me. “Your birthday is a very special one.”

Maybe that was the beginning of my elaborate celebrations. On off-years, I celebrate (usually) both Febraury 28th as well as March 1st. Most years I stretch it out over several days and play up the “I don’t have a real birthday this year” card.

And the real years, the Leap Years, I celebrate those in a big way. My husband, my family, and everyone tend to spoil me on my “real birthday.”

Sure there are times when I can’t enter my birthday because certain programs or websites won’t recognize it. Yes, the year that I turned 21 was a hassle because most of the bars would not let me in to legally drink until March 1st. But overall, I enjoy the uniqueness of my birthday.

I have only ever met one other person that shares my birthday. The chance of someone being born on Leap Day is about 1 in 1,500. There are approximately 187,000 people in the United States and 4 million people in the world who were born on Leap Day. (infoplease.com)

My Mom was right. It is a very special day.

Edited by Jody Smith

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