leap day baby
I am of the opinion that every birthday for every person should be special. For most of us, that is easy to do, but for the person, like my granddaughter, Shai Royce, who was a Leap Day baby, three out of four birthdays are virtually missing. Oh, they do exist…sort of, but they pass so quickly that unless you are up at the precise moment, or in reality, nono-second between 11:59pm and 12:00am, you missed it. I have been up at that time, and somehow, that nano-second slipped by without my actual notice of it, so I know that it is easy for Shai’s birthday to pass by without any real, concrete knowledge of it’s passing. So I call those three years where February 29th doesn’t happen…Nano-Birthdays. If all you look at is the year Shai was born, you will know that she is 23 years old this year, but she has only had 5 actual birthdays, and since she will have her 6th actual birthday next year, she is officially 5¾ years old and will turn 6 next year. During these past 23 years, Shai has celebrated her birthdays, however, because she has now had 18 Nano-Birthdays. It’s quite confusing when you have to do the math to figure out you granddaughter’s real age.
Shai is a sweet, loving girl, who isn’t afraid to speak her mind. She doesn’t like it when someone she loves is treated unfairly, she will defend them if necessary. Her family is of paramount importance to her, and when they are healthy and happy, so is she. Shai is a hard worker, and holds down two jobs. She works for Mako Reels, making…you guessed it, fishing reels. This has probably been the biggest shock to her grandma, because I would never have guessed that my granddaughter might make fishing reels for a living. She also works for Red Robin, for extra money. Shai is a very social person, so she is a true asset to Red Robin. Shai is one of the most loving people I know, and she is always doing nice things for people. She is very real about her feelings. When she likes someone, she lets them know it, and she likes most people, provided that they are good, honest, and kind people too. I think that makes her an asset to anyone who knows her.
Recently, Shai and her family took up bowling, and they are having a great time as a team. Last year they took first in the county where they live. That’s quite an honor, considering that Shai and her brother, Caalab hadn’t been bowling that long. They had a great time, and since they like spending time together as a family, it was the perfect team. And speaking of time together as a family, this year for her birthday, the whole family flew to Vegas for Shai’s birthday, and because Shai gave the trip to her family as a Christmas gift. She wanted a wonderful little vacation with her family on her birthday…and they had a great time, even going zip lining for thrills. Sounds like a great trip. Today is Shai’s 5¾, 18th, 23 birthday of some type. Happy 18th Nano-Birthday Shai!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
When my grandson, Caalab Royce was a little boy, he was obsessed with being “older” than me…or anyone else for that matter. He would often come up to me or other people and say, “I’m older than you.” It was always such a funny thing to have this little tiny, under five year old boy telling me that he was older than me…his grandma. It always made me smile, and maybe that was his plan anyway. He is, after all, a comedian…always had been. Not everyone was happy with his little joke, especially his older sister, Shai Royce. She was living behind the age eight ball anyway, because she was a Leap Day Baby. So the reality is that by the time he was one, he technically was older than she was. It was a source of contention, until I finally told her that she might only be two at eight, but she would get to drive when she was four and her brother and cousins would have to wait until they were sixteen, so it all evened out in the end.
Caalab has long since ceased to be that little boy trying so hard to be older, and I haven’t heard that funny little comment in a long time, but the story lives on in my memory files. Now that he is going on twenty years old this summer, I guess being older is not so important anymore. And, at almost twenty one…or 5¼…Shai is no longer bothered by such comments. I think that I just assumed that those days of hearing the comment, “I’m older than you” were over. How wrong I was.
Flash forward now those eighteen plus years, to my niece Kellie Hadlock, who is also a serious comedian…if that is possible, and you have Kelli calling me, my daughters, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce, and most of the rest of the girls in the family, Little Baby Caryn…or whatever their name might be. That is because Kellie is 6’0″, compared to my 5’2″. Kellie likes to hugs us and lift us off our feet at the same time, to make a point that we are vertically challenged. Today in church, where Kellie, her mom, my sister, Allyn Hadlock, and I are all backup singers, Kellie greeted me with her usual, “Hi, little baby Caryn.” I called her little baby Kellie, to which she giggled, “I don’t think so.” I told her that since I am older than her, she will always be little baby Kellie to me. Then, straight out of the past, came the sentence I thought I was done hearing, when Kellie said, “I’m older than you!” The shock must have registered on my face, because my sister said, “That would be ok!” I had to agree, because since I’m sixty and Kellie is almost twenty seven. I could handle being twenty six…or, maybe not, but it was a funny blast from the past.
It seems like just yesterday that our little Leap Day girl, Shai Royce was born, but it was really nineteen years and two months ago. Of course, you expect your kids and grandkids to grow up, but when they do, it still seems like the whole thing sneaked up on you…like you somehow didn’t really think it was going to happen. Then comes the time when they move out for the first time, and into an apartment of their own. Somehow it feels like Shai is about four years old, and living on her own…oh, wait, she sort of is. Being a Leap Day Baby is a unique situation, in that she only really gets a birthday every four years…making her oficially 4¾ years old. No wonder it seems like she is too young to be living on her own. Not only should she be a little girl, but officially she is a little girl. I’m not crazy., even though it might sound crazy. And to top it off, you know that no matter how grown up she, and my other grandchildren get, they will always be grandbabies to me, and I will always picture them in part, just like when they were little babies.
I think Shai’s apartment is going to be beautiful. She is a girl with very good taste, and a wonderful sense of style. She has some very nice things, and a good head on her shoulders, so, she will start to get things set up as time goes on. I don’t think a first timer to apartment living has everything they need to get started, but she seems to be doing better that most of them. She is organized and I know she will have everything in ship shape in no time.
I think the thing that I find the most interesting about Shai’s new apartment, is that in all reality it is the second time her first apartment is been in this particular apartment complex. I know that sounds odd, but when Shai was born, her parents lived in the same apartment complex, and so when she came home, it was to almost the same place. Of course, technically that apartment belonged to her parents, and this one belongs to Shai, but it is in a way, kind of like coming home for her. I don’t know how often something like that happens, but for her, that is exactly what happened.
I know that Shai has mixed feelings about making such a big move, especially since the rest of her family is moving to the Seattle, Washington area, but she will have her grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousins, and other extended family members living here too, so she will get used to it. And of course, she has lots of friends as well, and I’m sure that she will be entertaining people before very long, so before she knows it this will feel like home to her. Congratulations Shai, on your first home. I know that you will be very happy there. Just don’t forget to visit your grandma and grandpa.
Sometimes, a child grows up right before your eyes. One day they seem so young, and then quietly, like they were trying to sneak up on you, all that changes, and before you stands a woman. Gone are the adolescent drama queen days, and in their place is a woman, strong and capable…where once a little girl stood. I just don’t know where the years could have gone.
My granddaughter, Shai Royce, who is the daughter of my daughter, Amy Royce and her husband, Travis, arrived the day after her cousin, Chris who was my first grandchild. She brought with her something fun for our family, when she was born on Leap Day. I had always thought of Leap Day birthdays as something really cool, but never expected to have a Leap Day birthday in our family. It was something unique and in our family there would be just one Leap Day birthday…and one granddaughter. Shai was not always sure she liked having that birthday, but I think that as time goes on, she will like it more and more.
Shai is a very outgoing, people person, with amazing management skills…especially for a nineteen year old. I find it quite amazing that she stands out as a go to person at every job she has ever had. She learns things quickly and is able to execute them efficiently. Before long, Shai is telling the boss how to do things, and they are listening, because they know she knows what she is doing…strange thought that. Shai’s ability to take charge presented itself early on when she took care of her ailing grandparents by herself for a full month at the tender age of just ten years. It was a debt we could never repay, and a blessing beyond measure for her grandparents. My dad told me later that they felt such a bond to Shai after the time they spent together. She gave them the peace of mind to be able to rest and recover.
It’s funny how some kids just seem to be mini adults very early on. Maybe for Shai, it was that she took on a lot of things, or maybe it was because as the only granddaughter, she was the one with the mother instinct…or the boss instinct, or maybe that was just her nature, and she was doing what came naturally to her. Whatever the case may have been, Shai was always a leader and manager. She will always stand out in that way in my mind, and I’m sure also in the minds of everyone who has the privilege of knowing her. She is a beautiful young woman of only 4¾ official years, who has captured the hearts of those around her with her charm and beauty. Her kindness and compassion for others will always endear her to those whose lives she will touch. Where have all the years gone? Where once a little girl stood, there now stands a lovely young woman…a blessing to me and her grandpa, as well as family and friends. Today is Shai’s 19th birthday. Happy birthday Shai!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!
Every 4 years, my granddaughter, Shai gets a real birthday. For most of us that fact seems rather odd to think about, but for Shai, it is simply the way it is. Shai is a Leap Day Baby, and she is 4 years old today. Most four year olds are thinking about things like getting to start Kindergarten next year, and getting to spend the night with grandma because they are getting to be big, but that isn’t Shai either. Shai is thinking about getting her driver’s license. You see, Shai is 4 @ 16. It is a phenomena that goes along with being a Leap Day Baby, and is as much a part of who Shai is as her own name. She has not always liked that birthday, because being the only girl among my 4 grandchildren, the boys…especially the younger ones liked to remind her that they are older than she is. It was a losing battle for her, because on Josh’s 1st birthday…3 1/2 years after Shai was born, he became the last of the boys to be able to say that they were older than Shai, putting her as the youngest and the second born of my 4 grandchildren.
I always thought Leap Day would be an awesome birthday to have, and so, I was thrilled when my only granddaughter arrived on that very cool day!! We have had a great time coming up with interesting things to say about her birthday. I really like Leap Happens, which is one I put on the shirt I have made for her birthday a couple of times. The @ symbol has been a fun one too. I’m sure the sayings are as varied as the people who come up with them. It is just another fun way to celebrate a birthday that only really comes once every 4 years. I find it very hard to believe that Shai is so grown up. I look at some of the pictures of her through the years and realize what a beautiful girl she is.
In addition to her unusual birthday, Shai has an unusual name. But like the day of her birth, her name fits her so very well. I know many people would think that I mean that she is shy…which is the pronunciation of her name, but I am talking about the Hebrew meaning of her name. Shai in Hebrew means Gift, and that is exactly what Shai is…a gift, to her family, as well as all who know her. She is bubbly, with a touch of humor. She is very capable of doing any job she sets her mind to, from being a caregiver at the ripe old age of 2 1/2 (10) years old, when she took care of her ill great grandparents by herself during the day for the entire month of August when she was the only one we had that could help, to being a capable part time CSR at our office, The Stengel Agency, to having a second job at On The Border Mexican Grill and Cantina. She is an asset anywhere she works, and she will be a success at whatever she chooses to do with her life.
Three out of four years, Shai shares her birthday with her Grandparents’ anniversary, but every 4 years, she gets her own day…a real birthday!! This year is her year to have a real birthday. Happy 4th @ 16th birthday my precious granddaughter!! We love you very much!!