The odds of being born on Leap Day, Feb. 29, are one in 1,461. STOCK IMAGE

Local Leap Day babies ready to celebrate

ELLSWORTH — Deb Kane of Somesville was born in 1956. On Monday, Feb. 29, she will turn 15.

Technically, as a Leap Day baby, this will be just the 15th time her birthday has appeared on the calendar.

While she may really be turning 60 years old, Kane is still young at heart.

“I still feel kind of 15,” she said. “I feel a lot younger than I really am.”

Leap years happen every four years, but being born on Leap Day, Feb. 29, is pretty rare.

Since it actually takes 365.242 days for the Earth to get around the sun rather than a round 365, one day is added to the calendar every four years to make up for lost time.

Some 200,000 babies are born in the United States on Feb. 29 every four years. The odds of being born on a Leap Day are one in 1,461.

When Feb. 29 does roll around, it is a special day for some local Leap Day babies.

On Kane’s milestone birthday this year — her 15th, not 60th — she and her friends are planning their take on a quinceañera, which is a traditional Latin American celebration for when a girl turns 15.

Real quinceañeras involve elaborate parties and gowns and Kane is fully intent on dressing the part.

“Marden’s has prom dresses on sale, so we are going to go get some of those,” she said.

For Mary Hopkins, who was born and raised in Bar Harbor, being born on Leap Day in 1984 didn’t make her birthday all that different from anyone else’s.

“My mom always said I was not born on Feb. 28, I was born the day after,” said Hopkins, a mother of two with another on the way. “So we would celebrate on March 1.”

When Feb. 29 does show up on the calendar, “I usually celebrate a few days before and after, just to get it all in,” Hopkins said.

Her rare date of birth did cause a problem on her all important 21st birthday.

Since the birth date on her driver’s license did not exist on the calendar year, Hopkins had to wait until March 1 for her first alcoholic beverage.

As unlikely as Leap Day babies are, it is even unlikelier that two Leap Day babies born at the same hospital would have the same name.

Terri Lynn Cormier of Ellsworth was born on Leap Day in Bangor in 1960. But she wasn’t the only Terri Lynn born at Eastern Maine Medical Center that day.

“I was born later in the day, so my mother didn’t know until years later that there was another Terri Lynn born that day,” Cormier said. “She lives in Hampden and we keep in touch with her on Facebook. We always think of each other on our birthday.”

In another coincidence, Cormier is one of two Leap Day babies in her family. Her grandmother’s cousin shared the same birthday, which made Feb. 29 that much more special when they could celebrate together.

“The last memorable birthday we had was when we got to go celebrate it together,” she said. “I always think of him on our birthday.”

During the years between her birthdays, Cormier doesn’t have much of a celebration.

“It’s not like that actual day ever comes,” she said. “When you do have a birthday you want to do something special, but the rest of the time I don’t really care.”

Although it won’t be until 2020 when these local Leap Day babies have another official birthday, Kane is already looking forward to it: “It will be my sweet 16!”

Taylor Bigler Mace

Taylor Bigler Mace

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Taylor covers sports and maritimes for the Islander. As a native of Texas, she is an unapologetic Dallas Cowboys fan. [email protected]
Taylor Bigler Mace

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