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Today’s grandpas are a new breed—and they love it.

Dear Mommy,

Here’s a news flash: When Grandpa tells you that there’s not a thing in the world he wants or needs for his birthday/Christmas/Father’s Day, there is a 99.9999% chance that he means it AND that it is true. He probably follows that statement with a suggestion for his grandchild to make a card or paint a picture. And if said grandchild is out of diapers, he can safely say, “Let’s just spend an afternoon together.” By the time a guy reaches the age of grandfatherdom, he has all the tools and golf clubs he needs. As for ties, he has a couple of perfectly good ones that he refuses to wear, which drives your mother crazy. (She just loves when he says, “You can bury me in it.”)

Really and truly, what your father wants from his grandchild is to see her handwriting, to hear your child tell him a story or sing a song, and to know that your little one thinks he is the best guy on the planet . . . to infinity and beyond.

Look at the calendar on your fridge right this minute. With Father’s Day coming up on June 19, there are just 10 days left for your little one to create a masterpiece (fewer if you’re far from Gramps and have to mail it). The gooier and gaudier the better, and your father will be over the moon. And he will love YOU even more for not giving him a tie.

What we’re saying in a roundabout way is that today’s grandpas are more emotionally engaged with their grandchildren than grandfathers of even a generation ago. This latest batch of grandfathers is pretty much the seasoned first generation of fellas who went to birthing classes and into the delivery room, instead of waiting it out in the wings. Yes, this is painted with a very broad stroke. Yes, there are exceptions everywhere. But hear us out: The current grandfather on the street is younger, healthier, and more active, and therefore more playful and interested in his grandkids.

In fact, we’re betting that when you told your parents you were expecting, your father’s eyes welled with joy right along with your mother’s. Want to remind him of that wonderful moment, when he realized he was going to have another swipe at shaping the future? Only this time he gets to hand the bundle of joy back to his mommy and daddy when the going gets noisy (or stinky)? Gift him this sweet and manly book, for him to read aloud to his grandbabies. And dare him not to get choked up.

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This Father’s Day, pluck the old man right in the heartstrings. He deserves it.

Grandpa’s Wish List is illustrated by Sydney Hanson.

 

 

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