I am becoming a grandpa. Such a thing shouldn’t happen to a person as youthful as I.
Grandpas are gray-bearded guys who reign from their recliners. They peruse the daily newspaper through bifocals, prop up slippered feet and cover their legs with a blanket.
I, on the other hand, uh … Oh. Yeah.
Hey, at least MY blanket is imprinted with a really hip sketch of Mickey Mouse playing old time rock ‘n’ roll on a guitar.
Wait. “Old time”?
My daughter called me a couple months ago: “Daddy, are you old enough to be a grandpa?”
“No!” I yelped.
“Actually, you are,” she said.
This spring, I will be.
Old Age poked his head into the room and chortled, “Ready or not, here I come!”
“Ah, stifle it, Edith,” I snapped.
Oh great, I’m using a 1970s reference that half of you won’t get. I AM grandpa material.
Somehow, I didn’t expect to be this old until I was 70 or 75. And even then, I’d be really groovy. We’d listen to my 45s of the Partridge Family and Jackson Five. I’d impress them with my tales about the Monkees concert. Maybe we’d collect pet rocks together.
I’d be that far-out, cool gramps that would make all my grandkids’ friends jealous.
But I’ll be only 50 this year, and I’m not ready yet. For example, will the little guy call me grandpa?
In her article, “Choosing Your Grandfather Name” for About.com, Susan Adcox said I need to pick from a bunch of options including Pop-Pop, PawPaw, Papadaddy, Bompa, Lolo, Buddy, Chief and Peepaw. (That last one bothers me. It sounds like a crack on a condition we mature guys can suffer.)
Adcox further admonishes, “One disadvantage that grandfathers have is that their names are easily modified into something less than flattering. Gramps, for example, has been known to morph into Grumps, whereas Poppy and Poopy are a little too close for comfort. When spoken by an adoring grandchild, however, even such names have their charms.”
“Charms” aside, Grandpa Cole sounds just fine. Perhaps Old King Cole. Let’s teach the little Poopy Popper a little respect for Pop-Pop before Gramps becomes Grumps-Grumps.
The advice doesn’t stop there. Apparently, I also have to:
* Know how to take tons of pictures (I swore I wouldn’t be one of those grandparents, but if it’s a federal law … );
* Coach sports (It better be basketball because soccer wasn’t invented when I was a kid);
* Help with homework (I thought I was done with that nightmare);
* Hand out money like candy (Where was that rule when I was the grandkid?); and
* Teach family traditions (Ah ha! No handouts for you!).
Actually, teaching my rituals is the part of grandfatherhood for which I am deeply qualified. I’ve already called Melissa back to ask how soon after birth they can ship my grandson the 530 miles northwest so I can get started.
After making Play-Doh snakes and drawing pictures of bears, he and I will flop back together in the recliner, cover our legs with the Mickey blanket, eat Pop-Tarts and watch classic Donald Duck, Yogi Bear and Top Cat until we fall asleep with chocolate Kisses still smeared on our cheeks.
Call it Grandpa Cole Camp.