Is this generation of grandparents different than previous generations, or is this bald, bespectacled man just unusual?

My son is less than two years old and already has a great relationship with his grandparents. He loves them a great deal. He especially loves playing with his Gramps, who is the kind of guy who will play with my children for a very long time without ever getting bored.

My daughter is almost five years-old, and she has been over the moon for her grandparents ever since she was a baby. She asks to see them all the time and throws herself into their arms every time they arrive.

She and Gramps are also quite capable of playing together for hours.

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I wish I had shared a similar relationship with my grandparents. My mother’s parents were wonderful people who lived until I was in my twenties, and though I spent a great deal of time with them as a child, I don’t ever remember them as being playful, silly, overly affectionate or indulgent.

My father’s mother died when I was very little, and though I lived next door to my father’s father for my entire childhood, I can’t even remember getting a hug from him. He was a quiet, stoic, perpetually busy man.

Was this simply a generation of people who did things a different way? Men and women who lived through the Great Depression and World War II and saw the world through a more somber, reticent lens? 

Do the majority of the grandparents today behave similarly to my grandparents, or are my wife’s parents blessedly unusual?

I’m not sure.

Either way, my father-in-law has shown me what the relationship between a grandfather and his grandchildren can be, and I will not forget it when it comes time for me to be a grandfather.