Home > Death, Family, Love, Nerd, Parenting, Personal, Youth > My mom, my Thunder Thighs, my forever superhero

My mom, my Thunder Thighs, my forever superhero

Today I got something remarkable in the mail.

I knew it was coming. I’d commissioned it, after all.

And yet, there is a difference between envisioning something in the abstract and seeing it with my own eyes, which are currently full of tears.

There were few traditions in my household growing up, unless you count my mom’s antiquing and Dumpster diving. One tradition I could count on was periodic weekend walks to the comic book store, where my mom would set my siblings and me free with a dollar apiece. She’d buy the comics that interested her, while we’d rummage through the ten-cent comic bins for our personal favorites. Mine were horror episodics, a la Creepshow, as well as Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld and Superman.

In law school, I got my sister the full set of Amethyst comics as a birthday present. I hadn’t had much cause to think of that, or the comics themselves, until a couple of weeks ago. I’d walked into an antique shop in search of a dresser. There were no dressers available, but I did find excellent conversation with the store’s owner, who reminded me so very much of my mom I felt as if she were standing just behind me, too intent in her own rummaging to chit-chat.

Another prospective customer came in and interrupted our discussion with a question. I examined the jewelry in a nearby case for a moment; when I looked up, my eyes landed directly on comic  book magic: Amethyst and Superman in the same comic!

I coughed up $10 and decided that, for that single afternoon, I believed in signs.


I still haven’t read that comic. It’s not important that I read it, just that it exists. It reminds me of my favorite times with my mom, my Thunder Thighs, my forever superhero.

Every time my eyes landed on that magical crossover comic, I thought of another piece of comic art I was waiting for. I’d commissioned extremely talented, conscientious comic artist and friend Sina Grace to draw a piece borne from my blog “Becoming a Superhero.”

Because my mom’s life was so full of strife, I struggled to figure out how to do her memory justice. How could I help other people see her not as just a crazy bird lady but as the source of my own love, hope and wonder, not through accident but through emulation? How could I remember her that way, recalling not only her life’s many tragedies but also its victories?

“Becoming a Superhero” was the turning point for me. It was my answer. As long as I remembered Thunder Thighs, I was remembering my mom–my real mom, not not-Mom, the way she’d want to be remembered.

And as long as I not only remember but live the best parts of her, her love and laughter endure.

At some point I decided I wanted not just words but an image to serve as my reminder to remember my mom and use the remembering well.

I described to Sina what I envisioned, though that envisioning was in blurs and blobs. He asked bunches of questions and set to work, sending me a “blueline” (or very preliminary sketch) a few days ago to make sure he was on the right track. I loved it, and I said so. I was prepared to be enchanted by the final product, but again, I couldn’t really imagine what that enchantment would feel like.

Today I received a snapshot of the final image. I laughed and cried all at once, enveloped in the rush of remembered comic book shop visits, Thunder Thighs adventures, and the imagined forays of Dark Moon and Silver Star. My mom would love the image. I sure do.

The print one will be in my hands in a week or two’s time, but what’s important now is that it’s in my heart. Right there with my mom, my Thunder Thighs, my forever superhero.

thunder thighs sg

  1. February 5, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    Love your mom, you and L’il D! I think Sina has nailed this.

    • February 5, 2013 at 5:44 pm

      I think so, too! I wish I could show my mom. “Hey, guess what?! You’re the star of your own comic art!” She’d dig that. 🙂

      • February 5, 2013 at 5:47 pm

        Such joy in your “Guess what?”

      • February 5, 2013 at 5:50 pm

        She was always so afraid of her kids writing about her. I wish she could’ve seen what we wrote, but I am so, so happy to know exactly how she’d feel.

        Gosh, I wish I could give you a hug.

  2. February 5, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    This is so neat! I love it and know I would’ve loved your mom! 🙂

    • February 5, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      I wish I could envision these images more clearly, and draw them myself if I could! In a way, I’m glad I can’t. I love being able to be caught off-balance by the magic that artists can work.

      Did you see the art my BIL commissioned for my sis for Christmas? That was another perfect example of why I am in awe of and grateful for artists.

      If Li’l D ever expresses an interest in art, I will not tell him to choose something more practical to do with his life. There is so much healing that can be worked through art. That is both beautiful and practical!

      • February 5, 2013 at 6:04 pm

        I didn’t see your sis’s Christmas art, but would love to. (Is it on your blog?) H is a graphic design minor and can draw beautifully. I’m a crafter and can do basic drawing, but I can’t seem to capture the light and essence of an image the way that she can. You never know–maybe Li’l D will be a Li’l artiste! 🙂 Nice to hear from you! 🙂

      • February 6, 2013 at 5:36 am

        It’s in a post on Rache’s blog, which you can find here. I love what art can make real. ♥

  3. February 5, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    Oh! Teary-eyed!!!! YAY!!!!!

    • February 5, 2013 at 5:51 pm

      I’m just sitting here weeping, still, and not sad tears. Not remotely. I am just awash in love, all of it I’ve ever known. ♥

  4. February 5, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    I don’t have the words to do this justice… other than these two: Simply amazing. ❤

    • February 5, 2013 at 5:55 pm

      “Simply amazing” is how I feel about it, too. Between this and Rache’s Christmas gift, I am just so overwhelmed by the gifts that art creates in this world. ♥

  5. February 5, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    Oh Deb! I just love it! Look at L’il D. And look at how she captured you! I am swooning. I so want one! I want to be a Super Hero, too. And we are. We are.

    • February 5, 2013 at 5:57 pm

      That first panel, with me and Mom? That’s exactly how it was. EXACTLY. It’s so awesome to be able to see it from the outside. Then to see me and Li’l D in the second panel? It’s a good thing I’m not wearing mascara today. This image is such a good reminder to me of what I want to be, and why. ♥

  6. February 5, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    Oh, wow, this is so adorable and I love how its you and your mom, and then you and your L’il D, so cute! I say it turned out wonderful, and I love how in each one you and your mom are both busting a groove. 😉

    • February 6, 2013 at 5:26 am

      My mom loved dancing even when she wasn’t in her cape, so this is just perfect for me in so many ways! It took me a little while to love dancing and embrace more of her carefree nature, but having a kid sure does with that. 🙂

  7. Rosanne Rickel
    February 5, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    Your mother was a Wonderful, Loving person. I knew her as “Tina”. I will try and see if I have a couple pics here, had one of when she was probably 9 or 10 years old, the other when she was maybe 24 years old. I just happened to see your mothers obit online this past weekend, I was looking for her. Rosanne

    • February 6, 2013 at 5:29 am

      “Tina.” It’s been so long since I heard that! Even just reading it recalls the times I’d hear it as a little kid and wonder why folks were calling my mom, whose name was “Mom,” “Tina.” I’m grinning to remember that, especially now that I can imagine my own son saying, “Your name is ‘Mommy.'”

      If you can find those pictures of my mom, I would love to see them! My siblings and I have so few. You can email me here, with or without pictures. Thank you so much for reading and allowing me to share my memories of Mom with someone who knew her before. That is a gift.

  8. February 5, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    The picture is so wonderful. How lucky you are to have a friend willing to do this.

    • February 6, 2013 at 5:31 am

      I’d originally asked one friend, but she was busy and months slipped by. I was at a loss for how to make it happen until I was skimming through Instagram, liking Sina’s images and went, “Wait, how could it NOT have occurred to me to ask Sina?!” I’m glad things happened as they did.

  9. February 5, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    OMG STAAAAAAAHP WITH MAKING ME CRY ALL THE TIME. RLY. (I love it don’t ever stop.)

    • February 6, 2013 at 5:32 am

      I’ll only not stop if you don’t stop with these comments that make me giggle. And phone calls that make me feel like we really could just cruise down PCH again RIGHT NOW, not that we’re many miles apart. ♥

  10. Donnell Jeansonne
    February 5, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    Love it! Also: Creepshow, FTW!

    • February 6, 2013 at 5:34 am

      YES to Creepshow! Also, last night Anthony said, “Donnell Jeansonne?” I immediately replied, “I LOVE HER.” I think it’s the first time he’s asked if I knew someone on Twitter and I was actually able to say “yes,” or some variation thereof. 😀

      • Donnell Jeansonne
        February 13, 2013 at 9:03 pm

        Haha He was probably like “Who the hell is this crazy woman?” 😀

  11. February 6, 2013 at 4:17 am

    What an awesome tribute!

  12. February 6, 2013 at 4:31 am

    I love that, it is so cool!

  13. Sheri
    February 6, 2013 at 5:11 am

    I frequently find myself at a loss for actual WORDS to respond to your writings. I am at that place again. The love and admiration I FEEL when you write about your Mother, your sisters, is monumental. A mere ❤ cannot suffice. So, I'll give you five of them~<3<3<3<3<3. I love the picture, your stories, your memories, your writing.

    • February 6, 2013 at 5:38 am

      I love the way your words help fill my heart with more love this morning. Thank you, Sheri. Much, much love. ♥

  14. February 6, 2013 at 5:22 am

    I love you can make me cry happy tears as the last thing I read this morning before going off to work!

    I love you all, you brighten my life with sparkly love.

  15. February 6, 2013 at 6:51 am

    Love the pictures – wow! What a great tribute and reminder.

    • February 10, 2013 at 4:42 pm

      That’s what I wanted from it: a reminder that didn’t get me into overthinking zone! Pretty much anything with words does that, so I am grateful on so many counts for these images and what they represent. 🙂

  16. minisculegiants
    February 6, 2013 at 9:49 am

    Absolutely wonderful! What a tribute to you both!

  17. February 7, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    Oh, Deb, this is just spectacular! So, so perfect. Wow! Love it and love you!! XOXO-SWM

    • February 10, 2013 at 4:43 pm

      There’s one little difference between what I posted and the final version. With that difference, it’s even more perfect. I can’t wait to hold it in my hands, but I really am holding it in my heart with so much love. Love you, and can’t wait to meet up soon!

  18. February 8, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Sina is incredibly talented! I wish I had the means to commission her to draw some illustrations for my daughter’s book series. Sarah would be over the moon!

    • February 10, 2013 at 4:44 pm

      He really is! You might poke around and see what local artists charge. The fees might not be as high as you imagine. 🙂

  19. February 9, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    Well done Deborah in more ways than one … plus I wanted to stop by to say hello.

    • February 10, 2013 at 4:45 pm

      Thank you on both counts! My guys are asleep, which means I have a few moments to read a few blogs. I’ve been doing a bunch of book reading the last week or so, but this kind of reading has its merits too. Pleasant interactivity FTW!

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