Rachel Discovers Happiness

my life and road to happiness

Not Another Cliché Leap Day Post

Happy Leap Day everyone!

I wasn’t going to write today, but I figure, since February 29 only comes around once every four years (as we are all well aware) I have to write because, well, not every day is Leap Day. Then I was going to write about the nostalgia of childhood because I’ve been feeling it lately, but that didn’t seem to be enough.

Morning bun from Starbucks trip #2 (see bottom of post for more details)

You see, today isn’t just Leap Day… today is my very dear Aunt Judy’s birthday. She would have been 56 (or 14) today had she not died from cancer 11 years ago. I miss her every day.

Aunt Judy was unique. I’m not talking the way we are each our own people and different in our own right simply by existing or having variances in our DNA or whatever; I mean that Aunt Judy was a really special and amazing human being. She genuinely cared for every person she came in contact with every day.

I wish I had a photo to share with you, but I don’t have any on my computer. She passed away before digital cameras were a “thing”.

She lived across the country so we only saw her once or twice a year when we went to visit her or she came out here to visit us, but those visits were full of exciting adventures and parties. Tea parties, beanie baby parties, scavenger hunts, pool parties, picnics – you name it, she made it incredible. She couldn’t have children of her own so she treated her nieces like princesses. She would have been a wonderful mother – her child would have been the luckiest kid in the entire world. Unfortunately, she never had that chance.

When my grandmother stood up at my aunt’s funeral and spoke about her daughter, it broke my heart. I couldn’t tell you what she said (I was a wreck and hardly remember anything that anybody said to me that day), but what I can tell you is that my grandparents’ hearts break every single day from the loss of their daughter.

beautiful leap image (via vi.sualize.us)

The past few days have reminded my family, in very real ways, how short life can be. Yesterday, my step mom got news that her step sister passed away from a bad case of pneumonia (sadly, my family members are no strangers to how devastating pneumonia can be – and how awful the ICU can be for months on end). Last night was the first time my step mom had ever heard her step dad cry. Talking to her about it this morning broke my heart.

No parent should ever have to bury a child – no matter how young or old that person is.

Losing people who are close to you really makes you value how important every single day is – sometimes things happen that really make us open our eyes and take a good hard look at the world around us and realize how incredible this world is. Sometimes those things are good (like getting an apartment and a job all in the same day), and sometimes those things are devastating (like losing a loved one – especially when their life is cut short by tragedy); What’s important, though, is that we don’t take life for granted and that we really appreciate everything that surrounds us.

That is why I have spent today being thankful that I have one more day – one extra day – to appreciate the people in my life. Even though it seemed like just any other Wednesday – I got up, went to work, stressed about deadlines, came home, ate dinner, and now I’m sitting in bed – it really was so much more than that. It was one more chance, 24 more hours, to hold my head high and live life the way my Aunt Judy lived it all 45 years of her life – with passion, excitement, love, and hope that I can (somehow) make the world a better place.

Of course, now I’ve turned my “Happy Leap Day” post into a rather sad post, but sometimes that just has to be done. Because I made this post so intense, here are some happier Leap Year thoughts to end you with:

Leap Year Fact #1: Did you know that, because we have Leap Years, the calendar year and the solar year are just about a half a minute off. At that rate, it takes 3,300 years for the calendar year and solar year to diverge by a day. That should help you sleep at night 😉

Leap Year Fact #2: A New Jersey woman and her daughter were both born on Leap Day. The odds of that are 2 million to 1. That’s pretty crazy, huh?

Leap Year Fact #3: All of us in my mom’s immediate family were born in Leap Years. Pretty crazy, huh? What are the chances of that? 

  • Piffy – 1952
  • Prey – 1956
  • Philo – 1980
  • MJD – 1984
  • Me – 1988
  • Pookie – 1992
  • MJ – 2008

(To see which name corresponds with which person, visit the Characters page)

Besides valuing the extra day, I celebrated in a few other ways as well:

First I went to Starbucks three times before noon. Can you say addicted?! (Soy latte, morning bun, and iced coffee with nutmeg…. YUM!)

Then the Cupcake Fairy came to work today – something that only happens once every 4 years – and we were all pretty excited.

Present from the Cupcake Fairy

And, as if today wasn’t unique enough, there were actually open seats on my bus ride home. That is unheard of at 5pm on a Wednesday in San Francisco.

Empty bus seats 🙂

How did you spend your Leap Day? Did you do anything special?

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2 thoughts on “Not Another Cliché Leap Day Post

  1. Sadly, with Leap Day falling on a normal work day, I just stuck to my normal routine. But I thought a lot about the significance of the day. And you wrote a beautiful tribute to your aunt and to the time that we have here. Well done!

    • Yeah, I pretty much stuck with my normal routine, with the exception of certain things (like the Cupcake Fairy). I guess what yesterday taught me is that you can make any day special, simply by valuing it more than you would any other day.

      I think you would have really liked my aunt, she was a wonderful person, very compassionate. I miss her every day.

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