I suppose I've had a bit of time now to sort of digest how my life is changing. I'm sure I'll learn more and more over the next several months & years, but some observations are in order:
1. I am the sole speaker of a dead language. Date someone long enough, and you begin to develop a private language, rich with metaphors that pertain to specific incidents in your life together. It's tremendously useful for escaping bad parties, talking trash about people right in front of them, and keeps things entertaining. Amanda and I had 15 years to develop our private language, and without her, most of what I say at home has no coherent meaning or specific audience. I cannot teach Alastair the same language: he will have no frame of reference. I'm sure we'll develop our own, but it will feel hollow--and somehow strangely disloyal--without his mommy's input.
2. I no longer have to remember key elements of tv shows. Who cares if I noticed (after 3 years of failing to) that Orson Hodge is Paul Atreides? I actually turned to the other side of the sofa the other night as the revelation dawned upon me, as if to share it with...whom?
3. I am solely responsible for my child. This one's the kicker. When Alastair was an infant, I was happy to be supportive, change diapers, lend suggestions, and provide feedback on life-altering decisions for our son. Amanda, as a stay-at-home mom, I felt was a more natural fit for the role of choosing his life path. Plus, she had a vision--I did not. Now the things she'd discussed or only hinted at are nobody else's problem but mine. And things that I would let go in the past now have to be addressed, because nobody else is going to step up.
The first observation causes the most rending of shirts, because it seems to quantify my sadness: I've lost my closest friend. But it's that last one that's caused the most turmoil in Casa Amos, of late.
I find myself on a really short fuse with Alastair, and it's rarely his fault. I just can't turn to anyone and say, "I've had it: he's all yours for a while." And that was part of our rapport in the good ol' days. I would come home and Amanda would get away from him for a while. She'd been with him for 10 hours and needed a break. On the weekends, those roles would reverse, and I'd need a break. But if he drives me nuts (and he's extremely proficient at finding emotional weakness), I have to call for outside help. There's no good guy / bad guy, no "go and ask your mother", not even any "let me talk to your mother about it and we'll let you know". It's on me. And I have worked very hard in my life to avoid ultimate responsibility.