Most days I can ignore the reality that someone who has graduated from high school is usually living separate from his or her mom and dad or guardians. But now that my oldest has graduated from high school, how he spends his days weighs heavier with each passing month. That's because it is more clear than ever that Stross' life choices - his quality of life - are Mark's and mine to shape.
What a blessed and holy responsibility.
Those who have heard me speak or present know the clinical reasons why this is true - for I openly share information about the intellectual and physical disabilities that shape our shared life journeys. I won't share the details here - only because I think it is unnecessary. The conversation I have with my nearly 19-year-old son speaks for itself.
Stross and I recorded it on a day when he was bored spending time with me. His dad and brother had gone to cheer on our local basketball team in the state tournament, and we were left spending the day as we saw fit. Part of our day was spent talking, and our conversation is pretty typical of how deep we are able to go, even on a deep topic.
I love it when Stross asks a question or makes an observation about life that is profound in its simplicity - like when we helped the new president of our college locate the building in which he was to participate in a class as a guest speaker.
Stross' remark afterward: "We have to help the president know his own college?"
Simple yet profound.
Stross could just have easily said this about the president of the United States: "We have to help the president understand his country?" Yes - with only the purest of intention - we, the people, have to help the leaders we look to in all walks of life.
We are interdependent. Our shared and individual successes depend on the assistance we extend to and from the greatest to the least of these.
I wanted to capture this conversation with Stross to help me remember things simple, yet profound, and to remind me how well he understands the dynamics of life - far more than we sometimes give him credit for.
The big topic in this conversation: life expectancy. However, you will only see the part that I was able to recreate to some degree. There is one part I didn't want to recreate. In fact, I didn't even try, because it shook me a bit. Stross asked how old he will be when Mark and I die.
I said only, "Pretty old."
I thought about a lot more things than I said.
We have a lot to do before then.
We have a lot to get ready to be certain his quality of life will continue beyond ours.
What simple but profound issues are you pondering these days? May you find the help you need, as you need it. That's what I'm counting on.