Things that come around every four years: World Cup soccer, presidential elections, Olympic games and every birthday party celebrated today. The chances of being born on a leap day are about 1 in 1,500, not quite Powerball odds, but still pretty rare!
So for a select few, they only get to celebrate their birthday once every four years. And according to Google, there about 200,000 Americans who will celebrate their first real birthdays since 2012 today.
Why does this happen? Why an extra day every four years? Well, apparently, it takes the earth 365¼ days to orbit the sun, so a day is added to the calendar every four years in order to keep our seasonal calendar in check. If we didn’t add a day every four years, we would eventually end up celebrating the Fourth of July in the middle of winter. Who knew?! This makes leap year birthdays complicated. And try explaining this to a four year old!
I have a leapling (people who are born on Leap Day are called leapers or leaplings!) and today she is turning 8, or actually 2! Her little sister LOVES to remind her that she’s only 2! When she was born, I was filled with emotions, like most first-time mothers. I was thrilled and thankful and beaming with joy to have just given birth a beautiful and healthy baby girl. At the same time, it was February 29, 2008. Leap Day. The ONLY day I had “planned” not to have her. I desperately didn’t want my child to only have a birthday every FOUR years! Everyone loves their birthday, a day to celebrate them. I felt terrible that it happened this way. This was not my plan!!
She was due mid-March, so I figured I was in the clear. She, however, had other plans. I begged the nurses and doctors to try and keep her “in” until midnight so she could be born on March 1st. But, that didn’t happen. Not only was she born on leap day, she was also born at 11:11am. 11:11am on leap day. The nurses in the hospital were beyond excited for her! She was going to be one lucky lady everyone kept telling me. And you know what, she is!
She LOVES that she has a special birthday. She basically has two birthday days on non-leap years, no one ever forgets her birthday and we make a super big deal about her birthday every year (mom guilt!)! But on leap year, it’s a HUGE celebration in our family!
And while it may be hard to explain, I’ve come to think that having a birthday on February 29th is pretty awesome and I think my little leaper is pretty awesome too!
Happy birthday to all the leaplings and leapers out there! Enjoy YOUR day!