Staff Photo: John Bohn Caden England, left, of Buford, and Reema Aboneaaj, right, of Lawrenceville, both 12, share the birthday date of 12/12/12.
BUFORD -- On Dec. 12, 2000, Gwinnett County residents awoke on a rainy Tuesday. News networks buzzed that morning about a U.S. Supreme Court decision that settled a dispute over ballot recounts, deciding who would become the country's 43rd President.
On that same day, Cheryl Aboneaaj, Teresa England and April James arrived at area hospitals to deliver three future Gwinnetians.
While the births of Reema, Caden and Kaitlyn were far from national news, the three changed the lives of their mothers and fathers forever; and it so happened their birthdays 12 years later would present a numeric anomaly: The trio of young Gwinnett County residents turn 12 on 12-12-12.
The aligning calendrical numerals have not occurred since 1912, and the combination will not occur again until 2112.
Mom Teresa England said she didn't even realize it until recently. "It was an 'aha' moment," she said. "I was talking to my sister, and she mentioned it. I thought, 'wow. That's really cool.'"
Her son Caden agreed. "I was pretty surprised that something like that would happen," said the young man, who will celebrate Wednesday night with family.
Caden's father said they're keeping the festivity fairly simple. "Everybody's been planting ideas," Tim England said, laughing. "They say, 'Oh, it's 12-12-12. You've got to do something great.'"
Another coincidence that both families just realized: Reema and Caden share a class at Jones Middle School in Buford.
Cheryl Aboneaaj said Reema and friends held a party at their house recently to celebrate.
Reema Aboneaaj said she herself didn't notice the numbers would align on her 12th birthday until recently, while flipping through a calendar. "My first thought was ... 'Whoa, that's pretty neat,'" Reema said.
The self-described "bookworm" and science enthusiast said her favorite colors are green, purple and black. She also enjoys playing the clarinet.
Caden, who plays guitar, drums and just about any other instrument he can get his hands on, said he enjoys country music.
Fellow 12-12-12 birthday celebrant Kaitlyn James, who lives in eastern Gwinnett County, is partial to cheerleading at McConnell Middle School in Loganville.
James and her family will celebrate her birthday Wednesday at Oasis Bowling, where they've invited members of the media to attend the once-in-a-lifetime celebration.
"I'm inviting a couple of my friends, and we're going to hopefully bowl until midnight," the young girl said.
Kaitlyn said she and her mother April realized the 12-12-12 phenomenon last year. "We were talking about what we were going to do for my birthday, and someone on my mom's side of the family brought it up. I thought it was pretty cool ... what are the chances?"
Well, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4 million babies were born in the United States in the year 2000. The average was about 11,000 per day. So, chances are pretty good there are others like the trio of young Gwinnetians throughout the country, and likely in Gwinnett, too.
But if you'd asked Cheryl Aboneaaj, Teresa England or April James, 12 years ago, as they recovered at Northside Hospital and Eastside Medical Center on that cold, rainy Tuesday, they'd tell you none were as special as their newborn babies, regardless of aligning calendar numbers.