June 28th, 1995 was a Wednesday. My contractions had started before the sun came up and at the hospital the midwives were waiting to help me through labor. Albert Louis Schuitema was born that afternoon. His eyes were so dark they were almost black. Looking into them, I fell into a universe soft with love. It was difficult looking away. He seemed like a sage, an old soul still between worlds. I felt awe and wonder as I took him in. His tiny arms and hands spasmed as his nerves adjusted to the transition from the womb to the birthing room. Time seemed to slow as Albert greeted his grandparents, cousins and aunt. When he was given back to me, he fell asleep in my arms.
It seems incomprehensible that he is going to be nineteen tomorrow. He is away with friends as I vacillate in time, caught in moments that span almost two decades. He would tease me about my tears if he were here. It is so hard to let him go. Sweet, considerate, loving and warm – that is my son, Al. He is no longer the precocious little boy in his red vinyl boots and his Power Ranger costume. Lately when he leaves, I rush to hug him, hoping to convey how much I love him. He patiently hugs me back, smiles and turns to go, already inhabiting the future.