Ask Rachel Johnston about her daughter, Michaela, and it only takes a heartbeat before the superlatives begin to flow.

Ask Rachel Johnston about her daughter, Michaela, and it only takes a heartbeat before the superlatives begin to flow.

“I’m proud of my daughter. She’s a good Christian kid. She’s a very giving person. People just love being around her,” said Rachel, noting that her daughter plays volleyball and is a competitive dancer. “She’s super smart and funny. She’s got lots of friends.”

As if that wasn’t enough to make Michaela unique, consider that today - 12.12.12 - is her 12th birthday.

“This won’t happen again to anybody for over 1,000 years,” said Rachel.

Not all of Michaela’s friends recognized the significance of her birthday.

“I had to explain it to them a little. They picked up on it after a few minutes,” she said.

The significance of the date only began to sink in recently.

“I kind of thought about it a couple of months ago,” said Michaela. “I was thinking, ‘Wow. That’s really cool.’ It’s like really rare and awesome.”

The uniqueness of today’s birthday was recognized early on by Rachel and her husband, Wayne, who also have a 15-year-old son, Tyler.

“We realized it probably right after she was born, although we never thought a ton about it until the last couple of years,” said Rachel.

For a time, the Johnstons would not talk about today’s birthday around Michaela.

“My daughter always related it to the end of the world because originally some people thought it would be the 12th, so we would not always talk about it,” said Rachel. “Now she’s excited about it. She thinks it’s cool.”

According to Rachel, today’s celebration will be focused on “family time.” Another gathering will occur this coming weekend.

“That’s when all her friends become available. She has something planned with some of her best buddies,” said Rachel, explaining that the “girls night” will likely include bowling.

Michaela makes no secret about what she most wants for her birthday.

“A cell phone. It’s a big deal,” she said. “Some of my friends have cell phones and it would be really cool if we could talk to each other.”

To show her parents she’s mature enough to have a cell phone, Michaela has in her possession a “test phone.”

“It’s a real phone, but it has not been activated. She’s been packing it for two years to prove she’s responsible enough. She keeps it charged and never loses it,” said Rachel.

Michaela is cautiously optimistic she’ll receive a working cell phone this year.

“I’ve been getting clues,” she said.