There are many common phrases using glue as the bond in a relationship and recently I heard the phrase “Velcro Relationship” but it was used with a negative connotation. This confused me; wouldn’t it be better to be Velcro? Velcro we all know it as the hook and loop fastener that can keep everything together. It can be opened and adjusted and re-adhered back to its other side without losing its integrity. It doesn’t have to be dissolved or chiseled apart as glue would but is a tight bond that can be formed and then changed, just as relationships may adjust as they mold together. It can be loosened or tightened with any situation. Most importantly, Velcro depends on two edges or two people and both sides are equally important. My relationship with Papa is Velcro. I will hang on tightly to help him with whatever he needs, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t loosen my grip and take a breath every now and then before I reattach myself.
Papa used to buy rolls of Velcro to use in his shop, and he continues to use Velcro on a daily basis. The perfect example is footwear, Papa wears Velcro shoes. Velcro makes it easy for both the young and old to bend down and put on their shoes without having to worry about tripping if one loosened or become untied. Papa puts his shoes on in the morning and doesn’t have to worry about them again. Velcro is quick, it is strong, it is easy to pull apart at the end of the day, and is always ready to adhere to another tight grip when needed.
Papa has Velcro walking shoes and as the weather started warming up we got him a pair of Velcro sandals. Papa is always concerned about how he looks and while he is probably unaware that the new fashion trend is to wear socks with sandals he unknowingly fits right in. I am less concerned about any major fashion trends or faux pas concerning socks; I just want to make sure that he had something that he could wear walking that was tight around his ankles to minimize any opportunity for falls. Because we recently talked Papa into disposing of his stinky slippers, he decided he also wanted a pair of slip-on sandals to wear around the house.
Today was Father’s Day, and against my better judgment, we got Papa his first pair of Jordans. A practical pair of slip on sandals with a Velcro strap to adjust to his wide foot. He opened the box and was quite happy with his new shoes; they were just what he wanted. Like one of Cinderella’s stepsisters he was trying to squeeze them on his feet as Doug and I were both talking. I explained that he should not wear them on his longer walks, I was worried about them sliding off and I didn’t want him to trip. Doug mentioned that everyone loves Jordans and he better keep an eye on them as he travels because they might find their way on someone else’s feet. As we saw him trying to push his wide foot into the shoe Doug told him that he can adjust the Velcro to make it fit. Papa looked up at Doug and asked, “What is Velcro?”
Doug and I were a bit taken aback. Some days it hits us more than others as to how his memory has lost entire thoughts. Maybe this simple question affected us differently today because it was Father’s Day and Doug had thoughts of his father in the past as the Marocco family provider, and I reminisced of my own Dad, as I remembered him from many years ago, when he was young and strong and in his late thirties.
We took a deep breath and made sure our relationship Velcro was tight before showing Papa how to open the strap and size the shoe to his foot. His foot slid right in to a perfect fit. We have to take each day for what it is, and today Papa knows what Velcro is and can easily work Velcro, he just doesn’t remember what it is called anymore.