Calliope is talking about what ifs today. Many have chimed in, articulately and beautifully. I wanted to say something too. Something deep and profound, something rare, as this extra day that inspired the topic is rare.
But I find myself in a different place, with a different view of this day. I am not inspired by the extra day, nor grateful, nor did I, prior to reading the posts today, even register it as an unusual enough occurrence to merit some sort of a reflection. Apparently, I have a grudge against February. Since I started blogging last year this is the month with the fewest number of posts. And the fewest number of days, you correctly point out. Yes, and that's where the grudge is. It's too short, February. I feel like I am behind on things, even though I actually accomplished a fair bit this month both at work and at home. I am not ready for March. The month of Monkey's sixth birthday. The month we thought we would be celebrating A's first.
If you've been reading for a while, you have probably heard me say that the two date thing, the death day and the birth day, is still confusing. But most months I at least get one of them. Not so in February- it jumps right over both, and sends me straight into March, the month that used to be all about joy and is not exactly anymore. And this extra day? It's insult to injury in my book. It comes closer, but not close enough. It laughs at me.
And because I look at the world this way now, the thought that disturbed me today was what about the parents whose children die today? Today, on a leap day. Next year, having completed this grueling and cruel circle they will approach the end of February with their hearts full of love and grief. Their days will be ticking down to that imaginary one year line, line that many of us seem to instinctively imbue with meaning, the magnet and the brick wall of many of our days and nights. But the calendar will turn over on them, skip over the day their world stopped. Would it feel cruel? Insulting? One more way in which they are marginalized, required to measure the time differently than even the rest of their brethren.
I didn't think about what it might be like for kids with a February 29th birthday until much, much later. Can't be a picnic from their point of view. But man, they would be alive. So you know, all good.
Like I said, a different place.