Jim Bartlett's Blog

Leap Year Baby

I will hang another birthday on the line next week. Sort of. I was born on February 29th. This means that I only get a "real" birthday every four years, along with the Summer Olympics and the presidential election. Since there is no Summer Olympics or presidential election in 2013, I will be celebrating on the 28th this year, as I normally do. People ask me if it's weird to have my birthday on February 29th. I suppose it is, although I've never known anything else, so I can't say for sure.

On the day I was born, my father called my mother's mother to tell her that her daughter's firstborn son had arrived, and the first thing my grandmother said was, "Oh, no, not today." But it's fine. Being a Leap Year baby made me a minor local celebrity. On my first, second, third. and fifth "real" birthdays, I got my picture in the Monroe paper. On some more recent birthday--can't remember which one--I was at the Nitty Gritty when a local TV crew came in looking for Leap Year babies, and I was happy to be famous for another minute.

There's a woman in Monroe who is of my parents' generation and whose birthday is on February 29th, and we exchange cards every four years. Similarly, I know a couple of younger Leap Year babies, and I make sure to send them cards when we have a "real" birthday, because each of them should know at least one other person with this ridiculous distinction.

My nephews and nieces think the whole thing is hilarious, especially when they reach the point where they've had more birthdays than I have. It works like this: I went to high school when I was 3 1/2 and to college when I was 4 1/2. I got married when I was almost 6. This means, of course, that I will die tragically young, but that's the way it goes.

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02/22/2013 7:12AM
Leap Year Baby
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