Today, we are having a party. My youngest, Houston, will graduate high school on May 15th and today we will celebrate that milestone with family and friends. As I’ve written previously, one of my greatest fears on this cancer journey was missing out on special moments in his senior year. After the Covid high school experience he’s had, any activity or accomplishment is a gift. I just didn’t want to miss any of it. God has been unbelievable gracious to me in that aspect as I’ve been able to be present, even when it was a bit of a struggle to be there. So grateful.
When my surgeon said she wanted to schedule my surgery four weeks after my last chemo treatment, which would have been around May 1st, I made it clear that was not going to happen. “Sorry, doc, I’m not available until after graduation day.” She wasn’t too happy with that schedule, but agreed to it as long as she could operate on the Monday morning after graduation. So, that’s the plan. May 17th. I’ll be honest, I’m dreading every minute of this next phase. I just keep telling myself, whatever it takes to get this crap out of my body is fine. It’s not fine, but it’s fine.
Graduation day will be recognition for the 169 students in Houston’s class. But today is all about Houston. Let me tell you a little bit about him.
Houston came into this world when life was a little dark for me. I’d lost a baby just a few weeks earlier and I wasn’t ready to be pregnant again. God knew better. Houston brought light to my life and has been brightening the world ever since. His smile and laughter is pure joy. He is a dreamer. He is unafraid to try new things. He cares deeply for people and easily celebrates others’ successes.
Houston has a lot of words. When he was in 6th grade, I created a blog for him so he could go home from school every day and use up some of those words. I couldn’t handle all the words. I love all the words, but some days, it was a bit too much. The blog helped. In recent years, he’s been able to use his words to broadcast high school sports. He’s really good at it and is thoroughly entertaining. I’m quite certain there will be more words in the future.
Houston has accomplished a lot in his 18 years. He’s also made a lot of mistakes along the way. I’m proud of him for all of it. The stuff that has made me stand up and cheer, and the stuff that has kept me up at night, grieving and praying. It’s the latter stuff that has given him an understanding of grace which he pours out on others in ways that humbles me.
Houston and I clash a lot. I’m talking knock down, drag out fights. Yelling. Saying things we shouldn’t. Slamming doors. It’s ugly. We both hate it and it makes us sad. But I will say this, as quickly as our fights can go from zero to a hundred, we are equally quick about making our apologies and talking through our issues. So there’s a positive.
For some dumb reason, Houston has decided to go to college out of state. I can’t begin to express how much I will miss seeing his face every day. However, he has agreed to FaceTime every morning and every night so I’m sure I’ll be fine. And I told him I’d visit once a month. And I’m sure he’ll want to come home once a month. So really, it’ll be like a really busy senior year of high school, right? Yeah, right...
As you can imagine, Houston has had to endure hearing, “Houston, we have a problem,” countless times in his life. But today, it’s only, “Houston, we have a party.” As I type these words, I’m thinking of more people I forgot to send invitations to, more things I could have done around the house, and adding to the list of things Perry needs to get at the store, asap. Regarding the invites, if you’re reading this and if you know Houston, you’re invited whether you got an invitation or not. Seriously, come celebrate with us. When the nacho bar runs out, I’ll open up the pantry and we’ll sit around eating cereal or tuna or canned vegetables. It’s all good.
The past few months have changed the way I view days like today. I suppose it has changed how I view every day, but definitely these once in a lifetime moments. Then again, every day is a once in a lifetime moment. Kinda makes me want to throw a party every day.
So, here’s to Houston. Huey. Hojoboe4. The baby who completed our family and the young man who is gonna do big things. Watch out, world.