EBS: EMPTY BOX SYNDROME
How to Cope With It!
What Most Leap Day Babies Experience
Does your family put the names of family and friends on the calendar, on the date that represents the day they were born? You know, their Birthday?
We grew up with our names on the calendar. For so many years though, my name was in a box with no number. Everyone else had a number. The number represented them. Their birth. I didn't have one.
People in general, and some from the media, have asked me if doing this Internet birthday club, the Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies with Peter, is therapeutic because I didn't get a birthday.
They ask if we can feel each others pain over not "getting a birthday". They've told me we probably feel better about ourselves after we find others like us. Other, Leap Day babies. The thing is. We do "get" a birthday. It's just that it's not on our birth date 3 out of every 4 years. That's all.
And yes, it does feel good to find others born on the same day as us.
The two siblings born 2 and 3 years after me were born in February too. Every February, our calendar had Debbie's name on the 6th, Cindy's name on the 25th, and my name was in the empty box next to the 28.
It took several years before I was able to have clarity on that one. If I'm the oldest why isn't my birthday first in the month instead of Debbie's? Cindy being in the middle made sense, but why was I last if I'm the oldest? And hey! Why isn't MY birthday on the calendar??
I'M THE OLDEST!!
The birthday issue was almost like an after thought. I was so caught up in my being The Oldest. Then: WAIT... A... MINUTE! HOW COME MY BIRTHDAY'S NOT EVEN ON THE CALENDAR!?
Well, once Leap Day started to make sense to my 7 and 8 year old mind, there was a sense of, what I can now recognize as false, pride. I was "special".
So when my 2nd grade teacher asked if anyone knew someone born on February 29 I rose my hand and, ever so proudly, said that I was born on that day. Tall, gray-haired, Mrs. Stringham, in a smart gray suit fitting for a teacher in 1968, clasped her hands in front of her, shook her head slowly, and said: "Oh you poor child."
The very next recess the teasing started. That wonderful singsong teasing that kids do so well. "You don't get a birthday. You don't get a birthday!" and they'd laugh and move on. The teasing simply lasted as long as it took for them to get it out of their system. Way. Too. Long.
The little girls wouldn't let me play my favorite game, Chinese Jump Rope, with them because: "You're not old enough to play with us. You're only 2!"
So, in honor of those who like(d) to tease us, I have put a name to what you think we "suffer" from. It's E.B.S. Yes, EBS... Empty Box Syndrome.
In the years that are not Leap Years our name goes into an empty box with no number.
Our name can't go in the box with the 28, and it can't go in the box that holds the number 1. (THAT will NOT work. We were born in February.)
Our name goes into the Empty Box.
Just our name
in a... big.... empty....... box.........
(commence breaking down here)
Wipe those tears and see below!
I sure hope you get the humor in all this. Yes, when we are very young, it is a challenge to understand. Naturally. But we grow up and learn what a great day it is; one that represents balance and harmony. And it's all good!
If you can relate to this and would like to share your story, please email me here.