04:29:23 pm on
Thursday 18 Jul 2024

Happy B-day to Me
Jennifer Flaten

You would think, that at my age, I would dread birthdays. After all, every birthday means I am one-step closer to a retirement home, according to my loving children, but I don’t think so. In fact, I look forward to my birthday, with a glee that is downright unseemly for someone of my age.

My birth day is unique.

Aside from my love of all things frosted and sprinkled, I like my birthday because it is unique. I am a leap year baby. There are roughly 187,000 leap year babies in the U.S. and about 4 million worldwide. This seems a lot, but apparently isn’t. I can’t tell you the number of times I hear, “I never knew anyone with a leap year birthday before,” when I tell new friends my birthday is 29 February.

In fact, I received a birthday card from my tenth grade world history teacher, a fearsome woman, with the note, “Happy Birthday to the only person I know with a leap year birthday.” You don’t get sentimentality, such as that, with a common birthday, such as say 23 March.

It also can add a little humanity into an otherwise cold interaction, such as at the physician, when the nurse is entering my vitals into the computer system. Even the most robotic information gatherers pause and say something about leap year after hearing my birthday.

Just because I only get a true birthday once every four years doesn’t, in any way, prevent me from celebrating my birthday on the non leap years. My family members prefer my non-leap-years birthdays because there is no pressure. Well, there really is no hurry to get my cards or gifts to me on those birthdays right? Think of it this way, on non-leap-years, your card to me is both early and late.

When I was a kid, I wanted to celebrate my birthday on 28 February. What kid doesn’t want to have their birthday as soon as possible? Obviously, many people feel this way or the whole half birthday event wouldn’t exist.

Celebrating half-birthdays is a scam to get more cake.

If you are unfamiliar with the half birthday event, it is when you celebrate six months before or after your birthday. It really is just a shameless grab for cake. Surprisingly, I don’t celebrate it, although I love cake.

Thus was born a paradox. I wanted to have my cake as soon as possible, but my mother insisted I wait until 1 March because after all, she said, “All of you weren’t here on the 28th.”

Well, played mother, well played. I swear to gawd that joke is getting old; about 11 leap years old. That in no way prevents me from relentlessly advertising my birthday to my immediate family. I’d hire a skywriter if I could.

I am like that annoying Internet pop up ad you can’t get rid of; “Hey kids it’s only 30 days to my birthday.” “Hey honey, don’t forget I actually have a birthday this year” and so forth.

As I am not about to let a small adjustment for the earth’s rotation stand in the way of me eating cake, on non-leap-year birthdays, I found a way to have my cake and eat it too. I simply decided I would begin celebrating my birthday on 27 February and not stop until 2 March.

Take that birth giver. I kid, I kid. Please send my birthday card, anyway.

No one should have to work on their birthday.

Even when I have a leap year, I figure that is even more reason to extend the birthday celebration. This year my birthday falls on a Monday. Normally, I work on Monday, but it doesn’t seem fair to have my birthday on a workday. I asked off. I played the, “It only comes once every four years, so can I please have off card”. Yes, I tried to look adorably cute when, as said it too.

An added benefit, to the festival of frosting, as I like to refer to my birthday, is I don’t have to lie about my age. This year I am eleven, yes, do the math. This means I am younger than my kids.

Obviously, this is going to be most awesome when I am 84, I can celebrate my 21st birthday all over again. Actually, I didn’t celebrate my 21st the first time or at least not in the normal American kid way, going out drinking. Who knows, maybe by my second 21st I’ll go barhopping.

Do you think I can convince my family to buy me a car for my 16th leap-year birthday? I mean I didn’t get a car on my regular sixteenth. I think a car for the leap year one is only fair.


Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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