I love my grandchildren and can't get enough of them (I love my children and siblings too, but I can get enough of them once in a while.) If I had a bucket list, every item on the list would be doing something with my grandchildren.
One motivation, certainly not the only one, is so they will remember me, hopefully fondly. I know that children under three rarely remember anything from their infancy, and as they grow older, they remember more. As a practical matter, if I live the average length after diagnosis, Wally, now 17 months old, may have vague memories of me. Obed, now 4, will remember a little bit.
Obed is very smart and very perceptive for a four-year-old. I don't know, for sure, what's going on in his head, but it's clear that he's concerned about what's happening to me and trying to understand. He has asked me several times and his parents more often, "How do you get brain surgery?" I've tried to reassure him that it's not something you catch and his parents have tried giving him more scientific explanations about cell mutations, but he's worried.
So, isn't it selfish and indulgent for me to try to spend all the quality time I can with my grandchildren? They live 14 hours from here and normally I see them only several times a year for several days at a time. If I truly love my grandchildren and want their welfare, wouldn't it be better for me to be this distant figure that they didn't know very well, and forget about very quickly?
Maybe I need to study Ayn Rand and learn the virtues of selfishness. (Are you reading, Diane? I would love to have a serious conversation with you.) Being selfish goes against the whole fabric of the Christian culture I grew up with. Maybe Ayn Rand was such a nasty person in life because she had the deep insight that if you truly love someone you will do whatever is necessary for their welfare, even if it involves making them hate you.
It's a quandary for which I doubt that I will have an answer soon. Right now, I think I'll keep indulging myself with my love for my grandchildren. I certainly don't want people leaving my memorial service telling each other, as several did following the funeral of a certain Mennonite preacher, "Well, we wouldn't wish him back."