Leap Year Magic

Random odd fact about me: My third child was supposed to be born on Feb 29, 2000. Not the Shale-ster,  no, not unless he had the gestation period of an elephant, but a different third child, lost to the whispers of feint hope somewhere along week 16.

I'm not, nor was I, overly devastated at the loss. I was more irritated that I went through weeks of morning sickness with nothing to show for it other than faulty biology. I didn't know my identity would soon be shaped by the loss of children. Those born and those not.

But every leap year that jumps on by, I wonder about that would-be baby and what he or she would have been like. Just for a moment really, the amount of time it takes my heart to beat once and then I'm past it, onto other wonderments like how I managed to have a daughter who is so perpetually perfect until she is not or a son who seems to be allergic to hygiene or another son who fears marshmallows the way I once feared toy poodles with pink shiny bows in their hair.

I've always been fascinated by the leap year. As a child the bonus day seemed so special. Like it was filled with magic and possibilities. I both envied and pitied the one person I knew whose birthday fell on the date. It was a curiosity I couldn't help examine, like an old seashell found on a sandy shore or the bird's nest found while climbing a tree.

I woke up this morning, the day swollen with possibilities, a remnant of my childhood innocence I suppose, only cemented by once, fleetingly, being the mother to a child to be born on the day.

Except today turned out to be just like every other day before.

The dogs still snored at my side, shedding their black hairs all over my comforter. My husband was still away at work. My children, those who live, still bickered in the kitchen about arms being shoved into sleeves, toast that was too burnt, milk that seemed to disappear too fast.

Life carried on with out a hint of magic the day once seemed to promise.

What a let down I thought, as I took my dogs to trudge in the snow with me to our mailbox down at the end of the road.

As my dogs marked their territory on the small mountain of dirty snow alongside the line of rural postal boxes, I bent down to open my little metal box.

I peered into the dark hole and started pulling out flyers and envelopes, which surely contained bills and other trivial boringness, and then I saw it, all the way in the back of the box, pushed almost out of reach.

A small package.

The dogs and I turned to make our way home and as we walked I wondered what was in the box. It was a curiosity and I was most certainly the cat.

At home I ripped open the envelope to find inside it, a small purple box.

No note, just the box.

Curious and curiouser I thought.

So I lifted off the lid, and thump thump went my heart.

I squealed with delight.

A gift. From a blog reader. A friend.

Made especially for me.

And now I may tell my children, those born, those unborn, those no longer here, that dreams can come true. And I'll send them all my love on the wings of an angel. Or rather, in this case, a dead bird.

Lovingly crafted into a necklace just for me by the incomparable Vicki Pyle who got tired of reading about me wanting a necklace made out of dead animals.

Sometimes you wake up thinking the world is just a little bit blah. And then sometimes you open up a box and a bit of magic is restored to your universe.

I hope everyone's February 29 is filled with a little magic. Even if it's not the taxidermic kind you can hang around your neck to gross out your kids with.

My new necklace is going to go so well with my gopher feet earrings! 

My husband is going to be THRILLED!!