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When Do You Celebrate a Leap Day Birthday?

IMG_5956Tomorrow is my son’s birthday. Or maybe Saturday is. It’s a matter of debate around here. 

My son was born on Leap Day, 2008. Six years ago, I was extremely pregnant and tired. I was faced with the decision of waiting until after the weekend for a scheduled C-section, or just going for it on Leap Day. There was a good chance I’d have to have an emergency C-section over the weekend if I waited and man, was I DONE. Three more days of waiting felt like an eternity.

At the time, I thought it would be kind of cool and unique for my son to have a Leap Day birthday. He was my fourth and just being born was getting to be old news in our clan. But on Leap Day? Now that’s original! He’d always have that specialness about him. I felt like I was giving us both a great gift.

I didn’t really think that I’d have this bittersweet moment of confusion each year as I tried to answer the question about when we should celebrate his birthday. But I do. On his fourth birthday, my sense of relief that the day finally existed again was nothing short of overwhelming. I could put a sticker on the calendar. 

Every year when his birthday rolls around, I hear the same question: When do you celebrate his birthday? You would think by now I’d have the answer down. I don’t. I stutter. When DO you celebrate a Leap Day Birthday?

Legally speaking, my son is turning six tomorrow. The law recognizes his birthday as having occurred on February 28th, for such purposes as driver’s licenses and legal drinking age. He’ll get his age-associated privileges served up a day early, the lucky tike. Within the family however, we initially thought we’d celebrate on March 1st. This seemed more kosher in terms of the passage of actual time. His big sister was born in March as well and decided she liked the idea of sharing her birth month with her baby brother.

So when my son would ask, “How many days til my birthday?” We would respond with …

“Legally speaking it’s your birthday tomorrow. Technically speaking you won’t be six til Saturday … Sorry kid!”

Most recently we’ve decided to quit trying to rationalize one day or the other and simply celebrate my son for two days. Excessive?Perhaps. But it’s a consolation prize for the fact that most years he really doesn’t have an actual “real” birthday.

So tomorrow is my son’s birthday. And so is Saturday. It’s complicated when you are a Leaper. 


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