By Leaps and Bounds

Feb 29, 2012 | 0 comments

February 28th Birthday Bouquet

      Over my lifetime, quite a few people have mistakenly thought that I am a Leap Year Baby.  Even my own dear uncle Willard, who also happened to be my Godfather and should have known better, confused the date of my birth once in his later years.
      I think it must have been my sixtieth because he managed to track us down at the Olympic Four Seasons in Seattle where Nyel had taken me for a Big City Celebration – in fact Willard had each of his four daughters call me with their greetings, as well.  I remember it clearly because it was a singular event – such attention from all my cousins has never happened before or since.
      Even this year, I received cards from friends alluding to my “youth” because of my infrequent, every-four-years birthday anniversaries.  I’m not sure why that’s an ongoing mistake.  Perhaps people just associate a birthday on the last day of February with the Leap Day on the occasions it comes up.  My neighbor Leigh’s son, Nick, has a February 28th birthday, too.  I’ll have to ask him if people get his natal day confused, as well.
      The only person I know with a really-o-truly-o February 29th birthday is another Oysterville neighbor.  Unlike me, she is circumspect about how many birthdays she’s actually had, and I’ve sometimes wondered if those every-four-year celebrations have addled her thinking along those lines – maybe she truly no longer knows her age.  Or maybe she’s just being coy.
      Once upon a time in England, this was the day that unmarried women could propose to the man of their dreams.  They were supposed to give a hint as to their intentions by allowing the hem of a scarlet petticoat to peak out below their long skirts.  Other countries had similar traditions.  In Denmark, if the man refused the proposal he had to compensate the young lady by giving her a dozen pairs of gloves.  But in Greece, marriage during a Leap Year was considered unlucky.
      Not long ago someone told me that, since Leap Day is ‘extra,’ it needn’t be treated as a normal one.  It could be a day that you do things that you wouldn’t do on any other day.  I’m sure she meant those little self-indulgent things that many people think are special, but my way-too-practical mind immediately went to all those yucky little chores I usually avoid, like cleaning out bureau drawers.  I guess that just goes to show that I’m well-satisfied with my ‘normal’ days.  Certainly I don’t feel bound to change my ways given this extra opportunity.  Although, come to think of it…


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *