Where did the time go? You and your college and high school friends grow up, get real jobs, get married, and then suddenly, bam! You're all over Instagram and Facebook with pictures of your new baby. Curled up in tattooed arms. Sleeping against an old band T-shirt. You're trying not to screw up, and wondering how anyone ever learns to parent as they make their way through trying to raise a kid while gaining a new respect for the people who did it before them.
It's happening. Maybe it's happened to you.
Fatherhood is eternal, but the perfect Father's Day present has changed because, well, dads have changed. The new generation of dads is pretty far removed from the fatherhood that you might recognize on TV.
This new generation of fathers is showing that becoming a parent doesn't mean having to lose yourself. Instead, it's redefining fatherhood as a responsibility that doesn't just allow men to retain their cool, but as a responsibility that is inherently cool. "I started doing things I didn't necessarily want to do for myself," said Kev, a 27-year-old dad and bartender we spoke to. "You've gotta be a role model, even when they're young."
A good Father's Day present acknowledges and celebrates that. It's not as simple as golf clubs and neckties anymore. It requires a little more thought: more inquiry into a way that seamlessly integrates an appreciation for the things that guys love and the things that they need as new dads. Don't make it a last minute thing.
With that in mind, we've carefully considered some of the things that dads of any age would appreciate this Father's Day.
Here are 9 Father's Day presents that dads, both old and new, will actually want.
1. Bad-ass beans.
Something better than the stuff he might pick up on the way to work. Get him a couple of pounds of organic coffee, roasted to his liking. Make his mornings a little less abrasive. It makes a difference.
2. A slimmer wallet.
There's no reason a new dad should be sitting on a brick. Card holders that stay flat while holding plastic and cash are a much better alternative to the back pocket backache that a wallet overloaded with receipts and stray pieces of paper.
3. A break ... with tickets and a dinner date.
A night away from the kids isn't just something that moms need. Of the fathers we informally chatted with, dinner and tickets were high on the list of things they wanted. "I had to stop going out a lot," one dad told us. "I had to start focusing. But, yeah, I miss going out sometimes."
Tickets to a concert or a sporting event are a thoughtful way to show your appreciation. So is making arrangements for a "guys' night." What it boils down to, however, is about helping someone grab a little bit of "me" or "we" time.
4. Electronics and gadgets.
No man ever outgrows a love of tools, gadgets, or electronics. Some fantastic choices for the modern dad include fitness trackers, smart watches, and travel-sized French Presses. Bluetooth enabled tracking devices that can be attached to car and house keys will ensure that he never loses his keys again. If you're really feeling adventurous, you could even get him a virtual reality headset, though you'll probably have to set time limits so he still gets to work and takes out the garbage.
5. A closer shave.
A hot shave at a barbershop is a pretty rare luxury for most men as it's not something one generally does on a regular basis. It's the male equivalent of a spa day, which, we suppose, is an option if he prefers to keep a full beard.
The idea is to set him up for an hour or so of pampering that he might not otherwise enjoy.
6. Grilling gear.
Also on the list of things that dads told us they wanted was stuff for the kitchen or grilling (one guy simply said "meat").
Grilling and kitchen tools and accessories are a great way to acknowledge a man's talents when it comes to the finer points of playing with knives and fire. Give him a chance to show off his cooking chops.
7. Forbidden foods.
His favorite sweets. That cake he's not supposed to have. All the bacon you can fit into a pan.
Hook him up with some of the foods he should probably only eat once or twice a year or some of the candy and snacks that he loved as a kid. Nostalgia goes a long way.
8. Better barware.
There's something really satisfying about the weight of a crystal rocks glass or the curvature in a well-crafted cocktail shaker... Especially in this age of mixology where every detail counts.
Buying barware doesn't mean having to break the bank: vintage glasses and accoutrements can be quite affordable and smaller items like whiskey stones are a thoughtful gift for the guy who has everything.
9. A sipping Scotch.
More men in their 20s and 30s are turning towards classic cocktails and liquors, with an emphasis on palatability and consistency, rather than snob appeal.
A smooth sipping Scotch like DEWAR'S 12-year-old fits the bill perfectly. With smooth, buttery notes of shortbread and vanilla, this double-aged in oak blend can be enjoyed neat or opened up with an ice cube and a splash of water.