Our girl’s traded pink for camo

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 23, 2012

It seems it was just a few days ago that she was all about pink – with occasional quick bursts of passion for purple. For this birthday she wanted … camouflage.

And not even pink camouflage.

The real thing, hunter orange and all.

Yes, our little girl is 12-going-on-21.

She’s had me pegged for a sucker ever since I missed her arrival. I was on a girls’ trip to take in the theatre in New York City. Sarah staged a grand entrance of her own, immediately usurping the power my little finger once had over her grandfather.

“Aunt ‘Chele” is an easy target for both Sarah and her younger brother, and this birthday was no exception.

You want a $38 camouflage phone case? Sure. Nevermind that the castoff her new case replaced was more interesting and more expensive than my utilitarian black one.

And so the quest began. Camouflage swimsuit cover-up, sunglasses, and a promise of a beach towel if I could find one. They fit in well with her camouflage-themed cake, and the boots and hat she received from others.

“It’s just a phase,” my mother sighed as she watched her only granddaughter prance around in her new “I’m a country girl” get-up.

I couldn’t help but hope my mother was right.

As I was missing the girly-girl who carried pink dolls, stuffed animals, toy diaper bags and strollers with her for years, I reminded myself that even though shopping for that girly-girl was more fun, camouflage isn’t so bad in the scheme of things. It’s even much better than what I see some youngsters wearing.

And I found myself even more encouraged that the boys who were invited to the birthday party didn’t show. Maybe my brother has already earned a reputation as tough as our father’s was.

I’ve no doubt this is just the first in a long line of reinventions of Sarah. Tough as the adjustment to this one was, I’m starting to like the idea of “camouflaging” our sweet girl as a tomboy.

Even though she was way more interested in giggling and texting with her adolescent girlfriends than visiting with the family who drove hours to mark this birthday, it’s OK.

I’m still “an Aunt ‘Chele,” as her brother once said. She’ll think of something else she wants and call or text the easiest mark.

That’ll be me, and I won’t mind a bit. I figure they’ll be responsible for picking my nursing home, so I’m enjoying paying it forward. Way forward.