October 1, 2014

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48-year-old Avon woman is having a happy 12th birthday

For a 12-year-old, Beth LaFarciola is particularly well-spoken. And she’s a Pilates instructor and personal trainer to boot.

If you’re starting to get suspicious, just look at the calendar. It’s Feb. 29 — a date that shows up every four years.

Which means this Avon mother of three is celebrating her 12th actual birthday — even though she’s 48.

“I get a lot of that joke from my middle daughter about not being old enough to drive,” said LaFarciola of daughter Grace, 16, a sophomore at Avon High School.

Most years, the family celebrates mother Beth LaFarciola’s birthday on Feb. 28 or March 1.

“But realizing this year I’m technically 12 is a little weird,” the household’s “youngest” female said.

Her and husband Paul LaFarciola’s other daughters are Leah, 14, an eighth-grader, and Emma, 18, a senior at Avon High.

“It’s mostly my middle sister who gets on my mom about her birthday,” said Emma, while acknowledging: “It’s still kind of strange that our mom only has a birthday every four years … and then we have to explain it to everyone.”

“My parents would always observe my birthday on March 1, but I always celebrated on Feb. 28,” Beth LaFarciola said. “I was born in February, in that nano-second between Feb. 28 and March 1, so I celebrate in February.”

Her anxieties over “turning” 12 were eased by the thoughtfulness of friends, including a birthday card from a longtime pal.

“I hadn’t seen her in three years,” Beth LaFarciola said. “A lot of friends drop me a card, or call and say ‘I thought about you today’ when my birthday falls on the 29th. They don’t know anyone else who has a leap-year birthday. It’s really kind of nice.”

An estimated 684 out of every million people are born on Feb. 29, and roughly 200,000 live in the U.S., according to www.timeanddate.com. LaFarciola shares her birthday with singer Dinah Shore, serial killer Richard Ramirez, rapper Ja Rule, and Cleveland Indians great Al Rosen.

Calling her leap-year birthdays her “real birthdays,” Beth LaFarciola enjoys an extra-special celebration every fourth year.

This year, Beth and Paul LaFarciola will enjoy dinner with another couple, the wife of which was also born Feb. 29.

“Actually, she’s one of my Pilates students. She’s much younger than me. She’s 44,” Beth LaFarciola said.

Another special birthday card arrived this week from Beth LaFarciola’s older sister, who lives in Florida. Inside was a note from her sibling that said: “You realize that by the time we celebrate your 21st birthday, I’ll be 96 years old. I keep getting older while you get younger exponentially.”

Said Beth LaFarciola with a laugh: “The older I get, the handier this comes in.”

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.