Today, Feb. 29, Chris Paxson celebrates her 14th birthday. She was born in 1952.
 
Paxson, an associate professor with the School of Hospitality Business Management, has a leap-day birthday. Her younger sister, Karen Moore, said she has always been “leap envious” of her older sister.
 
“There are wonderful advantages to having a leap-year birthday,” Paxson said. “It’s different and unique, and turning 14 is a wonderful thing!”
 
This year Paxson will finally catch up to her daughter Berit, who also is 14.“Oh, but on March 30 she’ll turn 15 and pass me again,” Paxson joked.
 
Even though her real birthday only comes around every four years, she hadn’t decided yet how she’ll celebrate. She actually celebrates every year, but each year she does it differently.
 
Typically, Paxson and her family — including husband John Tarnai, director of the Social and Economic Sciences Research Center at WSU — celebrate on Feb. 28 and March 1.
 
“I’ll actually be teaching on my birthday this year,” she said. “That alone makes it a great day.”
First birthday at age 4
In 1956, her first leap-year birthday, Paxson was featured on the front page of her town’s newspaper in Ohio. A photographer posed Paxson holding a calendar with her little finger pointed at Feb. 29.
 
“Oh, of course I remember,” she said. “When something that like happens to a 4-year old, you remember. “I recall that my mom dressed me in a beautiful dress with a velvet sash and a puffy skirt. And now, all I can remember is the itch of that skirt!”