For a few hours today, I was the strong one.
I mean physically strong. I was using my core strength to power a battery-operated screwdriver through wood and masonry. And I was doing it because suddenly my sister Therese’s arms were too tired to provide enough strength to accomplish the job.
It felt amazing. I picked up that tool, put some muscle behind it, and attached board after board to the garage wall while Therese held the boards in place.
Holding boards in place is my job. It’s what I always do. I am the helper. It is usually her vision, her tools, her know-how and I have to fetch and carry.
I think the last time I was stronger than Therese was when I was 4 years old. At a year behind me, surely her 3-year-old self had to be weaker than me.
But she soon surpassed me. By high school, I was writing for the school newspaper and she was winning state medals for hurdles, sprint medleys and other athletic feats.
My athletic endeavors included biking to my job after school.
I was so pumped up about this change in circumstance that I insisted we call Mom over the lunch hour so I could crow about my newfound status as Queen of Strong.
“I’m calling you now,” I told her, “because I feel like I won’t be able to keep this up through the afternoon.”
Sure enough, by mid-afternoon I had sore knees, an aching back and arms that felt like jelly.
“I give you back the crown,” I told Therese as I turned the tools back over to her.
Sure, she’s back in control now. But for a few hours on a sunny July afternoon I was the Queen of Strong. She admitted it to me. She admitted it to Mom. That makes it true.