Birthdays are special days — especially when it is your own.
But what if you were born Feb. 29 and the big day only comes around once every four years?
The Sun recently asked three former leap-year babies who call South Walton home how they celebrate when the calendar doesn’t go their way.
Valerie Lofton, photographer and mother of three, takes the less is more approach.
"In my youth, I would celebrate all week long — just as long as my friends wanted to go out and continue celebrating. All that week, when I went out, I would tell people, 'It's my birthday!' " said Lofton.
But now that she is older and a mother of three, Lofton said she doesn't celebrate her birthday any more except when leap year comes around.
"In the off years, my daughters will come over around that time and bring a gift or a card, but that's about it," she said.
So, Lofton has nothing planned this year for her birthday, and she said her husband doesn't think about such things.
"We might go out to dinner, but that is all," she said.
Does she wish she had been born on a different day? No way, she says. If her son wasn’t born seven days early, he would have shared a similar February fate. Initially, Lofton hoped he would be born on Feb. 29 as it would have given them something in common to share. But she got over that pretty quickly.
"At this time in my life, I would much rather celebrate my kids' birthdays," she said.
Ann Morrell is another South Walton lady who was able to take advantage of the odd birth date as a youth.
"My dad celebrated it on the 28th and mom celebrated it on March 1," she says with a chuckle.
And, no, her parents were not divorced.
"So, they gave me two days instead of one since I felt bad when my birthday didn't come around," said Morrell.
And, when her actual day did roll around, it also worked in her favor.
"My first real birthday was when I turned 4 and I got a big party on that day — and every time it came around, which included my sweet 16th," she said.
These days, however, no big deal is made of it, and she expects her hubby might take her out to dinner on the 28th. Last year, which was leap year, she got dinner plus a shopping spree.
The main thing Morrell celebrates on her birthday these days is the granddaughter, who shares her birthday. She will turn 13 this year.
"I taught school for 30 years," said Morrell, "and in all those years of teaching school, I never came across a child that had my birthday. I thought that was strange. Even when I moved here and substituted at Butler, I never saw a child with my birthday. And when my daughter was pregnant and Feb. 29 neared, most of the other expecting mothers who were due to deliver, opted to be induced so their child wouldn't have the stigma of being born on that day. But, my daughter delivered my granddaughter on that day and we enjoy being different."
Alice Pauls, another leap year baby, also celebrates her birthday on the 28th — always — by going out to eat with her hubby and kids — if they aren't so busy that they forget.
"The calendar gets full," said Pauls, who added they don't make a big deal of it, whether it falls on the 28th or the 29th.