Take-a-flying Leap Year


‘The case for just skipping February already.’

So. 2016 is a Leap Year, which means that February got an extra day. I won’t go into all the scientific and historical stuff you probably skimmed in yesterday’s paper about why we have to tack on a 29th every four years, except to say that it has something to do with the Earth’s Rotation and the Gregorian Calendar.

Your paper no doubt also had at least one cute story about some Grownup who is ‘really’ only 6 years old because his/her birthday falls on Feb. 29. (The NY Times’ choice was a male underwear model.)

Anyway. If I sound a tad cranky, blame February. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks February is sort of a bummer. I mean, it’s four long weeks of not-yet-spring that comes along when you’re getting really sick and tired of winter. I bet even the Groundhog doesn’t get that excited about his Day.

A Valentine from The Child that I had no hand in making. (Thanks, Doris!)

A Valentine from The Child. Extra precious because I had absolutely no hand in making it

Speaking of Days, other than Valentine’s, which can be kind of fun — unless you’re a Mom who has to whip up 36 red-construction-paper-heart valentines and/or pink-frosting’d cupcakes for school — there aren’t even any good holidays in February. Have you ever heard of anyone putting up Presidents’ Day decorations? Poor February. It’s even hard to spell.

When I was a kid I heard a very funny radio essay, probably by Charles Kuralt (very droll, of the late lamented ‘On the Road’ and ‘CBS Sunday Morning’) making a case for eliminating February altogether. Darn it, even with mad googling I couldn’t find the actual piece, but the gist of it was that since February is kind of a downer, we should just, you know, repurpose it.

You could take February’s 28-and-sometimes-29 days and stick them on all the Good Holidays. Halloween and Mothers’ Day could be 3-day weekends. OK, so could Fathers’ Day. Heck, go crazy and make Christmas a whole week. Same thing, of course, for my Personal Favorite, Thanksgiving. And, come to think of it, doesn’t ‘Memorial Week’ have a nice ring to it?

Just be sure to save some days to pad out the Fourth of July. Now that’s a holiday that really deserves to be turned into a week-long revel. Fourth of July means great food like hot dogs and hamburgers, and you get to eat it outside. Where, if you’re really lucky, you can hold watermelon-seed-spitting contests. And doesn’t leaping into a lake (which is what The Dude and The Child are doing at Carlyle Lake in the photo at the top of this post) in the middle of ‘Chunk of July’ sound way more fun than any leaping you can do on Leap Day?

But since we’re stuck with it (at least for the time being), I’ll leave you with this photo chosen specially to commemorate Leap Day:

The Child mid-leap over Martha's Vineyard. No, the plane was not on fire. She did this for fun

The Child mid-leap over Martha’s Vineyard. No, the plane was not on fire. She did this for fun

And, of course, I leave you with my best wishes for a most marvelous March.

New York City. March 2016

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22 thoughts on “Take-a-flying Leap Year

  1. Unbound Roots

    I have to agree with you. February is a tough month to get through. Every year I look forward to March where the snow is melting, the sun feels warm, and you actually believe Spring is right around the corner. Happy March to you, Alice! 🙂

      • Unbound Roots

        No way! I’m jealous. We still have two feet of snow on the ground. However, my mother gave me a beautiful purple hyacinth that is in full bloom. I have it on my kitchen table, and it makes my house smell like spring. So, that will have to do for now. Enjoy your spring flowers!

  2. josypheen

    Until this year, I’ve thought February is a bit dull (and you’re right- hard to spell…)

    But this year we signed up for skiing lesson every monday evening in Feb…so it made the whole month waaaay more fun! Maybe you should do that next year?

    • I like the way you think. And I bet I’d like the way you ski (!) Me, I’ll probably try to work in a few more snow-showing visits to our pals’ Upstate. Not much skiing here in NYC (!)

      • josypheen

        Yay! Snowshoeing is really fun too! That would definitely improve your future februaries! (can you make a month plural!?)

        But you probably won’t be impressed with the way I ski. I’m still pretty rubbish!!

  3. I would love to take a Leap for Leap year!!! It is a boring month for the most part. March is Women’s History Month. Let’s see you do something with that!

  4. I’ve always found the leap bit a bit odd…but I still do love February because it’s my birthday month 🙂 And that pic is great by the way, I’m pretty sure if any of my kids ever post something like that I’ll have a mini-heart attack even if it’s after the fact! Visiting over from #WeekendBlogShare

    • Hi Joy! Here’s a thought: let’s take all of February and use it to celebrate your birthday (!) Thank you so much for stopping by. #WeekendBlogShare is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? And yes, I did almost have a heart attack coming across that photo, wonderful tho it is. We Moms think alike!

    • Better you than me (!) Honestly, tho. That picture was a total surprise. I saw it on Facebook. And when I asked The Child about it, she said ‘I didn’t tell you because I knew you’d freak out’. Hmmmmm. But she did say that it was a fabulous experience. Have fun! (As for me, the only way I’d jump out of a plane would be if it were on fire.)

  5. Ruth Meisenheimer

    Comment no. 2 … I just thought I was crabby because I was working on the income tax! Well, that’s finished and so is February, so it should all be good now. Love your stories, Alice!

    • As One Who is Terrified of Heights, nope! Maybe there must have been another person floating nearby. But now that I look closer, I think that person who is strapped to her back must be taking an airborne selfie with his left hand. As for the other leaping photo (off the houseboat), I didn’t take that either (Scott did). In fact, I never jumped off the houseboat (too high!)

  6. Hi Alice – unique and creative thoughts here about padding out the holidays. You go right ahead with that. I just have one pleading request: do not promote the padding out of Christmas. It already starts the day after Thanksgiving and continues until New Year’s Day. The continuous loop of Christmas music would put me over the edge. Fourth of July is The One. Fireworks every night, barbecues every day. Perfect. Thanks, Alice.

    • Ah! You make a most marvelous point, Miss Judy. More of ‘Little Drummer Boy’ alone would send me screaming off the nearest cliff. (Tho they don’t have many cliffs here). Thank you, as always, for the kind support — and pithy comment (!)

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