Becoming a Superhero: Guest Post by Author, Deborah Bryan

Please give a warm welcome to fellow blogger and author, Deborah Bryan, from the blog,The Monster in Your Closet.

I first met Deb through a post she wrote that absolutely floored me, Six hands for lifting: on my mom, mental illness fear & hope. I am constantly blown away by her prose; she has an uncanny ability to articulate the deepest of human emotions. She is the bravest of writers–never hesitating to pour her heart and soul into each post and comment.  A compilation of her finest essays, Memos from Your Closet Monster, was recently released on Amazon.

She’s also an accomplished author of several young adult fiction books, including,
The Monster’s Daughter. By juggling motherhood with the demands of her working and writing career, she has always been a huge source of inspiration to me.


Becoming a superhero

It’s little wonder I grew up wanting to be a superhero.

From the time I was little, the woman I most admired deemed herself “Thunder Thighs,” with the power to destroy villains by such seemingly innocuous things as body odor and thigh-ripple shock waves.

I don’t remember all of her powers or all the villains she coaxed back toward goodness, but I do remember my giggles. I remember how, in these moments, the world was only mirth and closeness to the funniest, silliest, smartest, prettiest mom in the whole wide world.

Thunder Thighs has retired now, but her cape is stretched forever across my proverbial heart.

I’ve been thinking of her a lot these days. I’d like to be worthy of wearing her cape.

There’s only one way to earn it. It’s not by being skinny enough, tall enough, eloquent enough, smart enough or bestselling enough. Not even a little.

I’ll earn that cape by making my son laugh from deep in his belly, and by showing him there is no sweeter music to me than the sound of that laugh. By making him forget the rest of the world exists, for a few moments, and letting him know that the rest of the world has ceased to exist for me, too. By letting him know I am not near him, but with him.

Thanks to The Hands Free Revolution, I’m getting in touch with my inner Thunder Thighs. I’m looking at my cell phone and wondering, “Would Thunder Thighs read that email, or would she swoop up her child and take him for an impromptu airplaine ride instead?”

I know what she would do. She might not have been the most practical of superheroes, but she was the most loving.

I have a choice. Every time my phone beeps, it’s beeping a choice. I choose my son. I choose my family.

I choose to do my best to be remembered by my son as I remember Thunder Thighs.

I will be worthy of that cape.

© 2012 Deborah Bryan. All rights reserved.
Duplication in whole or substantial portion is explicitly forbidden

45 thoughts on “Becoming a Superhero: Guest Post by Author, Deborah Bryan

  1. Deborah the Closet Monster

    Thank you so much for sharing this post, Darla! Your words have the same impact on me as you describe mine having on you.

    I started out the morning with a bit of trepidation related to a sudden calling-away of Ba.D. for a few weeks of work, but seeing your words reminded me it’s only a small thing in the face of a life full of good things . . . and good people, near and far. I’m so glad our worlds came to overlap.

    1. It is absolutely my pleasure, Deb.

      See, even your comment above says it all about you–so powerful and positive. I am incredibly grateful we’ve come to know each other through this bloggy world.

  2. That was beautiful. So often we forget about trying to share those little moments with our kids, as we get caught up in the minutiae of parenting, working. life. I often find myself checking my phone for emails or messages instead of being in the moment with my kids. This is a nice reminder of the little things that they will remember when they are older. Not how proficient mom was, but how much fun and invested in them I was. I appreciate the reminder. It is definitely one that is much needed.

    1. Deborah the Closet Monster

      Not how proficient mom was, but how much fun and invested in them I was.
      Beautiful! Exactly.

      It’s all those little moments combined that create the feeling I carry with me of my mom, a feeling so strong it helped me through years of enduring the consequences of her mental illness. This is an ongoing struggle for me, but it becomes less of one the more I think not in terms of “catching up online” but “keeping up offline.” It’s getting a little easier by the day.

  3. Tar-Buns

    I was moved by your Six Hands piece, which I read some time ago while checking out bloggers who visited my sister’s site (Pegoleg). Very powerful writing. It sounds as though the process has been cathartic for you at the same time.
    Thank you for sharing your word pictures!
    And enjoy wearing the cape through life’s many and varied adventures.

    1. Deborah the Closet Monster

      Oooh! I believe this is my first direct interaction with you, Tar-Buns. Hello! Thank you for your kind words. You’re so right about this being cathartic. And now that my own sister is diving into non-writing themed blogging, she, too, is discovering the catharsis of this openness. It’s exhausting at the outset but empowering in the long term.

      And, oh! How I’m enjoying wearing that cape! I get extra time to wear it these next few weeks. 🙂

    1. Deborah the Closet Monster

      Hee. I do try to keep them more sweet than salty, but there are definitely some salty ones, eh? Thank you, Peg, for this comment and your support, period. I am grateful.

  4. What a wonderful tribute! I wonder what my nickname would be? I’ll have to ask my kids on our road trip to Wisconsin. I am really looking forward to the confined time with my now adult children. At 20 and 22 it is hard to get everyone together.Hahaha!
    I do remember all those airplane rides! Even the one that gave me a bloody nose!
    I will check out “The Monster in Her Closet!”

    1. Deborah the Closet Monster

      My son would take hours-long airplane rides if he could, but I can give a maximum 10-11 spins before my world gets way too spinney to continue. I try my honey’s tips for not getting so dizzy so fast, but either the tips or my application of them aren’t effective.

      I hope the road trip is great, and that you find your superhero name is a pleasing one. 😀

  5. Loved your story and your description of Thunder Thighs, Deborah.
    It brought to mind a few times when I’d chase my kids around the room – impersonating Leo Buscaglia aka Dr. Love – and yelling, “I love you,” as I tried to give them a hug. Yes, they thought I was nuts, but they loved it.
    I wish I had created more moments like these.

    1. Deborah the Closet Monster

      “Yes, they thought I was nuts, but they loved it.” This made me laugh. That’s exactly how I remember my favorite childhood moments with my mom. “You’re bonkers, wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” I feel all the more lucky now, especially when using my mom’s old tactics earn my giggles and/or hugs now. ♥

      As for the wishing part, I believe we do the best we can with what we have. No matter how few or many moments like these there were, those moments do still live on now.

      These are good words for me to read as I continue to struggle with “needing to” check other things at the cost of checking out of my time with my son. Once in a while is OK, but every 15 minutes is not. I’ll get there eventually, though. I hope! I love the days where I make it an hour or two without even thinking about my phone because I am just so busy in love.

  6. Running from Hell with El

    Morning Darla and Deb!!!

    I like the concept of superhero you outline above, Deb. It is so much better that our children remember us for our laughter than for our beeping handheld electronic devices.

    For me, I also want to leave them a legacy, both for how I acted, and for what I created. I created them, with some help. And now I’ve found a career I love. Balancing both requires Herculean, or Superwoman efforts, for sure. But like all moms, and like you, I more or less find a way.

    Have a lovely day, to both of you.

    1. Deborah the Closet Monster

      It’s a process for me, too. It’s much easier to think about my inspiration and reflect on the ways I want to be than actually be that way, regrettably! But I’m getting there, bit by bit. Last weekend’s trip to Comic Con somehow made it so much easier. Talk about unexpected, eh?

  7. Ooh, Deb on Darla’s blog! Now THERE is a lovely pairing to rival even the most chocolatey of peanut butters, or peanut butter-y of chocolates.

    I love this post, Deb. I remember hearing about your “Thunder Thighs” superhero, and it always stuck with me. As your words tend to do! 😉

      1. Deborah the Closet Monster

        Hee! ♥ for this. You want to take on my blog in addition to your own? I feel like I’m developing an internet intolerance!

    1. Deborah the Closet Monster

      Thanks, Jules! You know the love is mutual.

      I hope like memories stick with my little guy. This all reminds me it’s been way too long since I busted out kung fu chicken for him!

  8. singleworkingmomswm

    Helllllo, Ladies! I love you both! Such a great combo to read today, and Deb, you are a superhero to us all, and especially to Lil’ D. I have visions of this modern world never looking up for fear of missing something off of it’s cell phone, I-Pad, laptop, or whatever. We’ll exist in a world where we recognize people more from their head shape and hair color than by the light in their eyes. It saddens me. We have to be vigilent about making a conscious effort NOT to fall into the trap. Congrats to you for doing this. Lots of hugs to you and Darla, too! XOXO-SWM

    1. You are too sweet. Hugs right back to you–a superhero in your own right. Deb’s post really came at the right time for me this summer as I struggle with unplugging. This time with them is so fleeting, I want to be more present with them at every chance I can get.

      1. singleworkingmomswm

        Yes, so true, Darla. Summer has been bittersweet for me in the years past, but this one I feel I’m getting more time with Maycee, and I’m so grateful. Hope you are having a terrific one, too! Hugs! XOXO, Kasey

    2. Deborah the Closet Monster

      “Vigilant” is the perfect word to describe this! I remember different posts linked by Hands Free Revolution about kids mournfully describing their parents as spending more time with their electronics than with them, and I’m reminded what I’m striving toward. It is striving much more than a destination I’ve reached, but I’m happy to be striving for it. And it’s getting easier. I think. 🙂

      I love your vision. I wish for the same!

  9. What a treat to see two of my favorit arees in one spot…as usual, Deb’s words and pictures are touching, I’m so glad that there wasn’t much available in terms of electronics when my children were little, given the fact that I can’t seem to stay away from them now for any length of time.

    1. Deborah the Closet Monster

      I wonder, too, what it would’ve been like for me and my mom had she grown up in this era. I’m glad those aren’t the memories I have.

      When I imagine the perfect vacation now, it’s one that involves next to no electronics. It’s just me, my family and a single emergency land line for use in case of emergencies. Six months ago–heck, even three months ago!–I would not have said the same. I think that’s progress.

  10. It presents an interesting question, Deb: Will our kids think the same of us as they become parents, when the distractions of their adulthood become even greater than ours? The answer is always that we have control over our impulses, whether we give in to the right priorities or not.

    1. Deborah the Closet Monster

      Indeed. As another blogger pointed out, the examples we set when our children are young are the ones off of which they’ll model their own behavior. That’s another reason still to be guided by long and short term considerations alike.

    1. Deborah the Closet Monster

      Thank you, for reading this and for checking out my blog! It’ll be another day or two before I can reply over there, but I read and was grateful. ♥

    1. Deborah the Closet Monster

      Something that makes me endlessly happy is pretending to be airplanes with Li’l D these days. We run around after each other with our arms spread out wide, and best of all, there is ZERO dizziness involved. 😀

  11. John Erickson

    Okay, now you guys are doing this “guest posting” thing just to confuse me! You both KNOW I have a bad memory for people’s names, and now you’re playing flippy-switchy? AARRRGGGHHH!!! 😯
    By the by, great post. Gimme a call if your cape needs pressing, the wife is pretty good with an iron – as the crease in my skull can well testify. 😉 😀

    1. Deborah the Closet Monster

      LOL @ “the crease in my skull.” I mean, I wouldn’t be laughing but for the smileys afterward . . . but with those smileys?! Hee.

      I’m not good with an iron for any of its various purposes. Dagnabit.

  12. Just dropped my son off at college and thought about this post on the long drive home. I have a contented smile, missing him, but remembering all the moments we invested in “growing up.” You’re so spot on. Thanks to both of you.

    1. Deborah the Closet Monster

      Aaaah, Barb. The fact that you thought about this post on the drive home is magic to my heart. Thank you for reading, thinking about this, and saying so afterward. Thank you.

    1. Deborah the Closet Monster

      They’re definitely not too old! I know that even today, I still want to call up my favorite superhero and have her work some of her magic. I suspect it’ll be that way for a long, long time to come.

  13. This is awesome. Thunder Thighs is possibly the greatest superhero name of all time, and I love that you are consciously trying to live up to that cape, Deb. Thanks for sharing! (And thanks Darla for having Deb here. I see her avatar in a lot of the blogs I follow but haven’t yet got my lazy ass in gear to check her out myself. Can ‘Lazy Ass’ be another superhero name? If so, I call dibs!)

  14. I’m just now seeing this! How ironic since it’s you, Deb, who first intro’d me to Darla with her FTIAT. It’s only appropriate you guest post on SAM. Love this post. You certainly get it! Don’t plug in…TICKLE!

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