kindness, reflection

Extra Day of Time

What would you do with an extra day of time?

That’s the thought that has been swirling in my brain today, because unlike last year or the year before, today is a gift of time.

February 29.

Leap Day.

A day that exists only once every four years.

For the most part, it’s an understated, unremarkable day. Businesses remain open. Schools continue to educate. Traffic still moves with each change of the stoplight.

The shelves on the stores have jumped from Valentine’s Day to Easter and the greeting card section is already promoting Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and graduation milestones. It’s as if today is invisible, like a hiccup on the timeline of a miscounted calendar.

But it’s not.

Today is special.

It’s a magical day where every single person receives a surprise gift to enjoy in whatever way they choose.

An extra day of the year. An extra day of winter. An extra day to catch our breath before March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.

Isn’t it funny how perspective changes everything?

I have a friend who was born on a Leap Day. For them, it’s an extra-special day because once every four years they get to celebrate their birthday on the actual day they were born. All the other years, they are forced to choose a different day that doesn’t belong to them. They’re either early or late, never right on time.

But today is different.

Today is a gift.

Bonus time.

The last time we had a Leap Day was in 2020, two weeks before the world shut down from a global pandemic. I don’t remember doing anything special on that day and I’m sure it passed like the blink of an eye, simply a different date to write on the page of life. The Leap Day before that, in 2016, was a month before my mother-in-law passed away while my own mother was battling Stage 4 cancer. That day, understandably, is a blur.

But now it’s 2024 and I’m four years older. The world has changed and I’ve been changed by the world. I live brighter. Love harder. Learn daily.

Leap Day 2024 was a scheduled work day, but I was blessed to collaborate with our school’s librarian on several creative lessons celebrating the joys of a Winter Wonderland (which was pretty ironic as we were creating digital snowflakes in a week that included balmy 70 degree weather, lol.)

This afternoon, I spent time with a treasured friend, enjoying moments of laughter and love.

I enjoyed the gift of kindness as I sipped on a custom-made Starbucks drink, leisurely walking the aisles of a bookstore.

I traveled safely from one destination to the next, in a car with plenty of gas, my favorite songs reverberating through the speakers. I even lowered the window and enjoyed the breeze blowing through my hair, thankful for the bright skies above.

Once I arrived home, I sat in my son’s room and listened to him talk about his day. Then I helped him earn another digital reward as we worked together to battle the enemy, playing Tower Defense Simulator on the hardest level I’ve experienced thus far.

I texted friends and family, wishing them a Happy Leap Day, then enjoyed chatting about future events and celebrations.

Today was wonderful, even if I did lose my Wordle streak after 50 straight days in a row.

You win some, you lose some.

I’m not sweating the small stuff.

Imagine if we approached each day like a Leap Day, a bonus gift of time.

What would you do differently?

Who would you hug or hold?

How would you embrace moments and memories?

I’m not sure how many more Leap Days I will get to enjoy, but the next time this day comes around, I’m going to max it out all the way. Take the day off work. Celebrate all the things. Hold the gift of time in the palm of my hand then toss it up like pixie dust and watch the sparkles land all around me.

To live.

To love.

To learn.

Because an extra day of time is a gift to embrace with joy!

Yes, my Starbucks account name really is the phrase “You Are Loved!” It always brings a smile when they announce it aloud!


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