Sometimes You Hurt the One You Love – Or You Just Make Them a Bit Snippy

3/4 front view of a female snapping turtle (Ch...
3/4 front view of a female snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina), taken near the St. Lawrence River in northern New York state. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes, worry can totally consumes the Crow.  She doesn’t get out of the house much these days, and with all the rain she can’t even sit on her deck and soak up some sun.  That just amplifies her stress levels.  Today she was worried about a change in my Dad’s meds.  I had all the info, but in addition to calling me about the changes, the doctor’s office also called her.  This is a mistake, because my mother often gets confused and is so worried about potentially getting the instructions wrong, that she invariably will. So she wanted to call me to confirm what she thought she hear about my dad’s potassium dosage.

Except with the Crow, if she calls you and you don’t answer, she just doesn’t leave a message.  She keeps calling you until you pick up the phone.  It doesn’t matter if it’s important or not.  If she wants the answer she will not relent.  So she didn’t.

Sitting in sort of an important meeting I let her first call go.  The second one I began to panic myself: is this an emergency?  I always forget about her compulsion to know the answers when I see that number and “Mom and Dad” come up on my phone more than once.

So I snapped at her a bit. “Mom, you can’t keep calling and hanging up when I don’t answer.  Leave me a message and I’ll call you back as soon as I can.”  It’s awkward taking calls in a very quiet meeting where my boss is presenting important information that I cannot afford to miss.

She snapped back “I won’t call you at work any more then.”  All or Nothing.

When I stopped over there tonight to make the changes to my dad’s meds, the Crow was a bit of a snapping turtle.  There was no reasoning with her.  Every word uttered from my mouth interpreted as a personal attack.

“Leave her alone,” my father tried to warn me.  He knows that mood.

But my feelings were hurt, my ego bruised.  How can she be angry at me?  Not stopping to think how worried she was that she couldn’t understand the med changes, and not stopping to thing about how worried she was last time my father was in the hospital with low potassium and lay in the hospital like a grey rag that had been wrung out a few too many times.

So I left in a huff, and vented to my sister, “Why does she get so mean?” I felt so betrayed.  But I was a bit snippy with her too, and if you can’t be snippy with your daughter who can you be snippy with?  I do like the word snippy.  It perfectly describes the mood – a bit pompous, ignorant and slighted simultaneously.

Well my sister talked me down and I called the little Crow to make sure she was okay.

“Gee you wrote that book and said how much you love me, then you treat me like this? Well, I’m going to write a book about you.”

“What will you call it?”

The Girl who was Mean to her Mother.”

I tell her that if she would stop acting like a snapping turtle I’d be nicer to her.

What I find is that we let our guard down with those we love the most.  They can see us tense, anxious, cranky, and they will love us anyway.  I remember reading that about children who behave well at school but not so much at home. Kids can be themselves at home with Mom and Dad without worrying about not being loved or liked.  So I guess now that my mother is a few weeks shy of 89 she’s entitled to be a bit of a snapping turtle.

We ended our call with a laugh or two, and I felt better that we could be both happy and snippy together.  Our love for each other as Mother and Daughter allows us to vent and be ourselves with each other without the love disappearing – for long.

2 thoughts on “Sometimes You Hurt the One You Love – Or You Just Make Them a Bit Snippy

  1. Hi Patty,
    Caregiving for your parents will be the hardest job you ever have to do in your life. Please get a health care proxy (if you haven’t done so already) and inform all the doctors and pharmacy to call you and NOT call your parents. Make sure your parents have given permission to their doctors, the hospital etc. to be able to speak with you since so many don’t fully understand the HIPAA regulations. Explain the reason for the calls going to you and how anxious it makes your mom when they call her and she doesn’t comprehend it all.

    Snippy is a good word for some of what you’re dealing with. Hang in there and don’t lose your sense of humor. Trying to reason with her will get you no where fast. Try not to let anything be taken personally. She’s trying to defend her “personhood” and she knows she is losing the battle.

    Big hugs for you and the Crow.



    1. Thanks for the good advice Laura. Sometimes I do forget how hard she is trying to keep her personhood. She was so much better today as the rain stopped and she was able to get out a bit. So goes another episode with the Crow! Hug delivered 🙂


Thank you for your comments - I appreciate it!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s