As a little girl I didn't understand why I was so jipped in the birthday department. Seriously! Quadrennial birthdays - are weird. But I do remember the day I started to stop resenting my unique birthday and started to embrace it instead. I think I was about 6 or 7, and I was complaining about my birthday to my older cousin Sherece. "I only get one birthday every four years! It's so weird! I don't even know when I'm really one year older." Sherece responded,"Well, I think your birthday is cool. My birthday is November 30th. If you want, we could trade?" I wasn't sure if trading birthdays was even possible, but the fact that she was so quick to want to give hers up for mine let me know that there might be something worth keeping. So I didn't agree to the trade.
Growing up, when someone would mention a year as being 365 days in length I always felt compelled to represent my fellow Leaplings and mention that "a year does not always have 365 days - sometimes it has 366!" "Yeah yeah," were the common responses. Haha.
The issue of when to celebrate my birthday on the off years has always been a point of debate and some mild contention in my home growing up. I have always felt that my 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 birthdays should be celebrated on February 28th, NOT March 1st. It always felt right to keep everything in the realm of my birth month. Though, my dad who has always been the biggest contender on this issue always makes a point to wish me a Happy Birthday on March 1st when it is an off year. I just roll my eyes and smile when he does. I've come to expect it. He argues that I'm not really a year older until March 1st. Either way, there is no true birthday there. I'll tell you something though - many a year I have stayed up until midnight to soak in that fleeting second between the 28th of February and March 1st, just to feel that nonexistent day, if only for a moment. Yes, I know I'm a dork.
You know that game, two truths and a lie? I always include that I am a left-handed Leap day baby as one of the truths, but everyone always guesses that that is the lie. Oooops! Spilled my secret. ;) But seriously how cool is that? About 10 years ago when my abysmal math skills were even better than they are now I used to contemplate statistically how many left-handed leap day babies there were. Though being left-handed and being born on leap year are both traditionally seen as unlucky circumstances, I have always felt that they gave me an edge somehow. I love feeling so unique in a world of sameness.
On my un-birthdays, celebrating my birthday has always been a sort of lukewarm week-long, "Yay! You're about a year older now!" sort of thing. Though I am a Februarian (a Leap year baby who celebrates on Febrauary 28th), I always receive birthday well wishes on both days. And honestly, since I don't really have a birthday most years, we just kind of celebrate it whenever it is convenient for everyone. My attachment to a birthday celebration is weak at best on the off years. To tell you the truth, I always feel a bit uncomfortable accepting "Happy Birthday" wishes from friends on those off years. I feel like I have to add the caveat that "it's only sorta-kinda my birthday today."
With my conservative Mormon upbringing, it was a strict rule in our home that we wouldn't date until we were 16 years old. My mom used to tease me, that if I wasn't a good girl, she would make me wait until I was "really" 16 (64 years old). Besides my occasional worry that my mom might actually enforce that, I have always looked forward to aging with a positive attitude. It will be entertaining to tell people, "I'm 20!," not be lying and be a wrinkly old woman to boot! Hehe.
I have always felt like the whole Leap Year always being a presidential election year has contributed to me being more politically involved somehow. Like the specialness of having a birthday and having the opportunity to vote just go together. Weird, I know.
I was featured in a little article in the Provo Daily Herald on my last birthday. They wanted to know how I was celebrating, and sent a reporter to catch the story. Haha. For my birthday, I just had a small get together with my old roommates and friends to have a 5 year old birthday party. We dressed up in 5 year old "tea" party garb and drank apple cider and hot chocolate in teacups while we nibbled on treats and chatted. The reporter being there made things a bit awkward, but it was nice otherwise. Plus, it was fun to see it in the paper the next day. :)
My being born on leap day set a birthday celebration tradition for all of my siblings. 3/4 years, birthdays would be celebrated with just a quiet family dinner at a nice restaurant. 1/4 years - PARTAY TIME! I remember all my major birthday parties in vivid detail.
Sort of how you become your name, and your name becomes your own, I feel like being born on leap day has influenced who I have become in some respects. Like the concept expressed in this funny song (embedded below) my brother shared on my Facebook wall, leap days are an odd invention to make the Gregorian calendar work in time with the Earth's rotations around the sun - I feel like an oddball in life, who is just trying her best to make an ever more off-kilter world make sense! ;)
Despite the quirks of it all thou, being born on leap day - pretty much rocks. Especially
when it is your real birthday. Yeah. Today really rocks! :) Happy real birthday to all my fellow leaplings out there! :) Enjoy your special day!
And if it's not your birthday? Well, here are some cute ideas for how you might like to celebrate this extra day!
Happy Leap Day, Everybody!