This post also appeared on www.capecodonline.com/blogs in the opinion section of the Cape Cod Times, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.
That’s the question I’ve been asking my wife lately. Although she looks like the same person, there’s no way the woman I married is the same person I’m living with today.
You see, she is the most independent woman I know. She’s a businesswoman to the core. She works as a bank manager and she’s obsessed with the quality of her work. She’s been rewarded as a top performer multiple times and won free trips. She’s Type A to the bone and she makes decisions with cold, calculating reason. This is in complete contrast to me. My life is ruled by my heart and I wear all my emotions on my sleeve. I’d rather be happy than rich and she often made fun of me for being “the chick” in the relationship.
But something funny happened one week ago. With the birth of Will, it seems a brand new woman was also hatched. This woman — this MJ imposter — looks just as beautiful as my wife, but with not so subtle differences. For instance, a few days ago I came out to the living room and found her just staring at Will and crying. I was worried so I asked her what was wrong. She said “He’s growing so fast. In the blink of an eye he’ll be older and I don’t want that. I want him to stay the way he is right now.” I searched for the hidden cameras I was positive were filming me a la Punk’d. But she was serious. My formerly stone-faced wife was shedding tears.
But it didn’t end there.
After a bunch of people came over to visit us and the baby, we were unwinding and getting ready for bed when — BOOM — she was in tears again. I thought she was in pain so I rushed over to help her. But alas, she was fine physically. She just said “I don’t know why I’m crying, I’m just emotional.” I was stunned. The woman I married does not cry for no reason. She’s tough and keeps her feelings to herself. If she cried in the past, it was because she was in immense pain. But now not only was she in tears, but she readily admitted she didn’t even know why.
And guys, don’t handle it like I did. I told her people don’t just cry for no reason and so I sat there and interrogated her trying to pinpoint the cause of the tears. I can’t help it, I’m a guy. We’re very logical. If someone is crying, there must be a reason. We try to find that reason and see if we can fix it. But I’ve learned that after a woman gives birth you can’t rely on reason for anything. Hormones are raging, her body is changing and sometimes a teary outburst is just the way those feelings are expressed. Instead of trying to solve her problems, now I just listen. And nod. And agree all the time. I find this is the most effective (and safest) way of operating.
There have been half a dozen examples like this in the past week and honestly, I think it’s cute. It’s like when Simon Cowell decides to give a compliment on American Idol…you hear him say it but you keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. That’s life in the Gouveia household these days. Uncharted territory for sure.