Leap year’s extra day on Feb. 29 rolls around again this year as it does every presidential election and Olympics year. It’s a special day for us leap year babies to celebrate a true birthday once every four years.

Chad Ritchey of Mount Gilead is a truck driver for J&R Schugel Trucking with a Feb. 29 birthday. He was featured in a Sentinel article in 2012 when he celebrated his eighth birthday when he turned 32 years old.

“Every four years I get to have one big birthday party. The other birthdays are just like any other day,” said Ritchey, who was working at Radio Shack in Mount Gilead in 2012.

In a recent Voice of America (VOA) article, Peter Brower spoke about his own experience with a leap year birthday. Brower is the founder of the website for the Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies where 10,000 people have signed up. The website leapyearday.com has a kids page along with a parents page, teachers page, and listing of celebrities with leap year birthdays.

My own experience with a leap year birthday is included in the VOA article. I am among the 5 million people with a leap year birthday. It’s as much fun for me to be a leap day baby as it is for my family and friends.

Friends will say, “Oh yeah, you’re born on leap year. How old are you really? Are you 5 or 6? It’s fun for people.”

My grandson, Wesley, who is a fourth grader, asked, “How old will you actually be this year grandma?”

“Well, it’s my 19th birthday, so multiply 19 by 4. You can do the math,” I answered.

It’s a rare thing to be born on Feb. 29. I was always the only one in my class and as far as I know the only one in the school with a leap day birthday. A special year was turning 16 when my good friend had a surprise birthday slumber party for me.

Ritchey, who will celebrate his 11th leap year birthday this year, said he’s had some fun with his kids when one was amazed when they both had about the same number of birthdays. Ritchey recalls what happened to him when he tried to buy a beer the first time. It was an off year when he turned 21, so they let him get a beer on Feb. 28.

Brower said having a birthday on the Feb. 29 can cause some other problems. On Brower’s life insurance policy, he has to say he’s born on March 1 because the computer program won’t accept Feb. 29. There can also be issues with drivers licenses when the license expires on Feb. 29, but it isn’t a leap year.

It seems possible having a leap year birthday keeps you a little younger. It’s much better saying, I’m having my 19th birthday, instead of saying my age.

My friend Cheryl Young reminded me this is my last birthday as a teenager – she suggested that I celebrate all week.

Alberta Stojkovic is a correspondent for The Morrow County Sentinel.