• Jessa Nelson

They call me a leapling

Ah, my birthday- finally, I’ve waited four years for this day to come. For most people, birthdays come every year, but for some, Feb. 29 only comes once every four years and I am one of those so-called “leap-year babies.”

My parents used to say I was so lucky for being born on such a special day, but here I am, 16 years later and I am technically only four years old. Today is Feb. 29 and I have decided that I am going to get my driver’s license. It may be difficult, but I was able to get my temporary license so we will see how this goes.

I walked into the BMV and the lady behind the desk called me up shortly after I signed in. She looked at me with a sharp sneer and began, “Sweetheart, this is cute an’ all but your little prank is wasting my time.”

I looked at the lady with complete confusion, wondering what she could have been referring to as a “little prank.” She then handed me back my temporary license and birth certificate and called up the next person on the sign in sheet.

“Ma’am wait-” I said, but she rudely cut me off after that.

“Honey, next time you attempt to make a fake I.D., try using a real date. Feb. 29? That only happens every four years, so hop along, toddler, I’ve got people waiting in line behind you,” she said.

When I got home, in tears, because my mom was still having to drive me around everywhere, I did some research on how others deal with my situation of having a leap-year birthday. Turns out, there are different regulations all around the world for when a “leapling” turns legal ages. In New Zealand, by law, one born on a leap day technically turns a legal age (16, 18, 21, etc.) on Feb. 28 if the year is not a leap year. However, in England, a person celebrates their “lucky” birthday on March 1, and that is when the government acknowledges that person of their legal age. But in the United States, there is no said rule for when my birthday truly is, so who is that lady to tell me that I’m not 16 years old?

If I moved to New Zealand, I would be 16 and could get my license. If I moved to England, I would be 16, technically tomorrow and could get my license. But if every government has a different rule, how do they decide it?

“For someone born on Feb. 29, the first day they can legally drive, vote, join the Army, buy alcohol or start collecting Social Security is presumably March 1 in non-leap years,” professor of law at the University of Iowa John Reitz said according to The University of Iowa News Services.

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