Dear AskMe: Thanks. June 11, 2013 8:15 PM   Subscribe

I don't know y'all's addresses so I'm sending my thank-you note c/o MetaTalk.

Five years, 44 questions, and (inexplicably) 10,000 likes after I joined MetaFilter, the sweet lambs who precipitated my $5 investment and first question have graduated from high school and are ready to leave the nest. (Well, one is anyway, but he's had one foot out the door since he could walk.) It's been a challenging few years and I hope you will forgive my adding to an active MetaTalk page to express how grateful I am for this site and its inhabitants. I honestly don't know how I would have managed it without this priceless resource.

The thing I have found most lacking in our lives with me as a single parent hasn't been money or time, it's been perspective. There's nobody with me who says "this is normal teenage stuff" or "yep it's time to worry now"; there's nobody with them to say "your mom's nagging on that issue is pretty standard for a mom." This out-of-sync-ness has occasionally led to hilarity ensuing, but more often it has exacerbated the situation. During those times, when I've been baffled and worried and filled with self-doubt and sure I'm absolutely ruining them, the AskMe archives have been a godsend.

I have asked a few questions specifically about my dear boys and their adventures, and the feedback was honest and given with compassion but without kid gloves--just the perspective I needed. Frequently, though, someone else has already asked something similar enough to my crisis of the moment that at least one response in a long-closed thread has been spot on for our situation. I just can't tell you how valuable it's been for me, when I wake with a start at 3 a.m. worried about one thing or another, to be able to spend just a few minutes on the Green and come away with perspective. And grateful once again, gone back to sleep.

I remember reading a comment comparing AskMe to that one good friend who tells you the truth about how you really look in those jeans. I'd agree with that but after relying on AskMe's sage hive mind for advice, commiseration, compassion, a kick in the pants, and many, many other perspectives during my children's teenage years, I'd say y'all compare even more to the very best kind of mom/aunt/big sister. I've never had that kind of input IRL, so thank you. So. So. Much.

We've still got a long road ahead but if all goes according to plan (ha!) you'll soon start seeing questions from me asking about OKCupid or music festivals or AT hiking or PhotoShop or other me-stuff. (Oh, and here's some unsolicited advice for single parents who've still got a ways to go -- don't put the me-stuff off.)

Any of y'all who are mostly on MeFi and look down a bit on the Green, you should take another look. There's gold in them thar hills. AskMe has made me a better mother, and as a result, two young men are beginning their adult lives with just a little bit more in their backpacks than mom saying "be careful!" For myself and on behalf of M&B, thank you.
posted by headnsouth to MetaFilter-Related at 8:15 PM (41 comments total) 96 users marked this as a favorite

Flagged as awww... and here here!
posted by vrakatar at 8:24 PM on June 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


👍
posted by mazola at 8:37 PM on June 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Aw, hooray! Way to go graduates, and way to go mom!
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:38 PM on June 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


I recognize your name here because a couple of your parenting questions -- and more accurately, the thoughtful and reasonable tone of them -- stuck out to me. Congrats to your sons and double congrats to you.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:57 PM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


They remind me a lot of my two, now 17 and just graduated, and 20 and working. Congratulations to you all. You've made an amazing trip and appear to have arrived happy and healthy!
posted by angiep at 9:05 PM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Any of y'all who are mostly on MeFi and look down a bit on the Green, you should take another look.

AskMe is the only part of the site where the comments are worth a damn. I'm glad it provided so much for you.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:16 PM on June 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


Thank you for thanking us. It is quite unnecessary, but much appreciated. You sound like you have done a terrific job with your children.

I too have teenagers, three of them, one in college and two upperclassmen in high school. Every other week, they live with me. I have the same self doubts at times, but like you, I take comfort in the growing process, both mine and theirs. I too have learned a lot from Metafilter, not the least of which never would have occurred to me minutes ago, to thank y'all. So, taking headnsouth's lead, Thank You.

As for waiting for music festivals, don't. Take your teenager. Just took one of mine to Mountain Jam to hear Phil Lesh and Friends. He loved it. He knows the songs as all I listen to is Sirius 23, but I took the time to discuss the Dead's history and told him about the time I met Phil Lesh at the Marketplace Grocery and he came alive. We ended up in a huge conversation with about 10 folks around us. Good bonding times.

Enjoy your children before they actually do move out and you are on okc or wishing you had a friend to go to a show or for a hike.

What a long strange trip it's been...
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:17 PM on June 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


What a lovely post.

And also, ditto to everything in the post. The advice here for sole parents is beyond invaluable.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 9:45 PM on June 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Because my family was abusive and we are estranged, and I've since become someone's mom since joining MetaFilter almost 4 years ago, and I also don't have a mother/aunt/big sister to check in with on parenting issues - your point there ESPECIALLY jumped out at me.

Thank YOU for confirming this is a great place to participate, all the way around:))
posted by jbenben at 11:03 PM on June 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


This was great to read! Thanks.
posted by Namlit at 2:48 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


So you didn't take my advice (bury them in the backyard at 15 and don't dig them up again until they're 25)?

Well done you.
posted by flabdablet at 3:36 AM on June 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


Good for you! I'd love to spend more time on the green, but metafilter already takes up 114% of my free time.
posted by double block and bleed at 4:31 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wonderful to read that this place has such an effect on you! And congratulations to the new graduates!!
posted by xingcat at 4:32 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


As a fellow parent with one successful adult-raising, and a nettlesome 13-year-old still in the house, I just rhought I'd offer you a huge hug of congratulations. 9/10ths of parenthood is just caring enough, and you've gone above and beyond in that department, for sure. Watching them fledge is bittersweet, but also glorious.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:52 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yay! The Green is what originally pulled me into MetaFilter. Such a great resource.
posted by arcticseal at 5:09 AM on June 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


What a lovely post. It made me cry! Loved the pictures. Congratulations, and enjoy your you stuff!
posted by loveyallaround at 5:27 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Based purely on those shirts and ties, you have done an awesome job!
posted by rtha at 5:38 AM on June 12, 2013 [10 favorites]


Wonderful stuff. Congratulations!
posted by jbickers at 6:27 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Look at those fabulous boys! Well done, all of you!
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 6:42 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd love to spend more time on the green, but metafilter already takes up 114% of my free time.

You might want to check into the Green to get some help with your math (is what my wife might tell you, as a high school math teacher who would point out you cannot spend or use more than 100% of something, but you can give 114% more of your of your time to MetaFilter than you did last week).
posted by filthy light thief at 6:57 AM on June 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Your boys are fantastic! How great to take a minute and shout it out! I completely concur about Ask, having recently launched my own darling daughters (27 and 23).

I am a little dismayed to learn that the Green is the wrong side of the tracks, although I guess I shouldn't be shocked to find myself there so often.
posted by thinkpiece at 7:26 AM on June 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


is what my wife might tell you, as a high school math teacher who would point out you cannot spend or use more than 100% of something

Your wife would make a terrible high school football coach.
posted by Etrigan at 7:40 AM on June 12, 2013 [12 favorites]


What a lovely post. It made me cry!

Me too! This was such a sweet MeTa to make!
posted by Greg Nog at 8:12 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Your boys look fantastic - congratulations on a job well done :)
posted by thatone at 8:21 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is such a wonderful post. Congrats!
posted by warble at 8:27 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


you cannot spend or use more than 100% of something

That is only true if "something" is the kind of thing of which one can possess only a positive quantity.

I can spend more than 100% of my salary, by borrowing from the bank, and I can certainly spend more than 100% of my free time, by borrowing liberally from time that was allotted to other things.

In this last matter I speak from experience.
posted by emilyw at 9:22 AM on June 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


You know the old Garbage-In, Garbage-Out adage from software programming? Well, old pal, you're a shining example of whatever is the opposite of that. Insight-in, Insight-out or something like that. I can't tell you how many times you've saved me from having to invest time typing out a response to someone on AskMe, because you've already said what I was thinking, probably more succinctly. Congratulations to you and your boys--they are lucky to have had you in their corner all these years.
posted by drlith at 10:03 AM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is a beautiful MetaTalk thread - but isn't it also blindingly obvious to all that it will inevitably lead to the destruction of our society?

Just think what will happen if news of AskMe's mad parenting skillz gets out - American parents, once so diligent in the discharge of their duties, will immediately lay down their noble commissions and delegate the role of pater and/or mater familias to this website. A whole generation of children will be raised by the cool, imperious words of AskMe threads, and never again will any infant receive succour in the warm and nutritious bosom of its mother, or in the form of a firm handshake from its distant father.

Furthermore, the callous and negligent one-question-per-week rule of the mods will see children die in their millions, if not billions, as they are prevented from asking whether or not to eat certain out-of-date foods, or how to dispose of unwanted domestic corpses.

I don't blame the poster for the coming genocide, as she is obviously a wonderful parent - but, those who are responsible for this horrible future crime should never again moderate a website. Vote, instead, #1 quidnunc kid and my "no quidnunc kid left behind" policy of not leaving my behind behind. It keeps falling off, you see, because I talk out of it all the time. Vote #1.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 11:20 AM on June 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


Nice post, headnsouth! I, too, often turn to AskMe for perspective.
posted by foxhat10 at 12:15 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


* mother.
posted by Cranberry at 12:47 PM on June 12, 2013


Those are some adorable young men. You are all lucky to have each other.

(and thanks, Ask, for all the parenting advice I have ganked here too).
posted by emjaybee at 2:25 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've gotten some very sage advice on the Green over the years - I was a lurker for quite a while before I decided to pony up the $5 and join. Needless to say, it was one of the best investments I've ever made. Some of the responses I've gotten to questions have really made me take a good look at myself. As you say, OP, perspective is key.
posted by Telpethoron at 3:11 PM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Aww
posted by radioamy at 4:43 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Aw, man. This is lovely. This is why I read the gray.

This, and the otherwise constant fighting. But this is much better.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:49 PM on June 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


Yeah, even though I rarely ask questions, I read so many of them - the techy ones, the relationshipfilter ones, why is my car making this noise, can I eat it, what are good recipes for, how do I ____.

It's an amazing education, thanks to askers and answerers all.
posted by rtha at 6:01 PM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, and name my kitten/puppy, of course. Last but not at all least.

(No, this is last: all the book rec threads. Askme does my vice no favors in this regard.)
posted by rtha at 6:02 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


What a pair of handsome lads you have! That's some fine craftsmanship there, is what that is!

Mucho congratulations on getting them through high school intact. There aren't a lot of places for us parents of teens/young adults to get good advice, it seems. But I've seen some great stuff on the Green, and I'm so glad to see that it has helped you.

(My own Monsters are 21 and 17, and they are a total scream to hang out with. I hope yours are, too!)
posted by MissySedai at 6:46 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Good job!
posted by Mr. Yuck at 8:12 PM on June 12, 2013


flabdablet: So you didn't take my advice (bury them in the backyard at 15 and don't dig them up again until they're 25)?

It's still an option I'm considering. They're still slobs and they still apparently don't know how to tell time. I do have my grar moments with them!

rtha: Based purely on those shirts and ties, you have done an awesome job!

Thanks but that plaid one...

filthy light thief: You might want to check into the Green to get some help with your math

Hey, we don't do homework for people here!

drlith: Insight-in, Insight-out or something like that.

Takes one to know one, my wise old usenet buddy.

the quidnunc kid: delegate the role of pater and/or mater familias to this website.

Had I known that was an option I could've gotten more rest over the years.

MissySedai: There aren't a lot of places for us parents of teens/young adults to get good advice, it seems.

Yeah, it's all mommy-blogs where everyone's perfect, or ask-type sites that have no community or followup/continuity. Also, as they get older, more blame and finger-pointing than solutions. In contrast, parenting threads here have answers that come from parents who've been there, parents who want to avoid getting there, future parents, grieving parents, child-free people, people who give the perspective from the kid (that POV is so valuable ... when someone says "I was once your kid" you know it's going to be worth reading), just all kinds of people who all want to help you find a solution. This place is a jewel.

loveyallaround: It made me cry!

Me too.
posted by headnsouth at 12:51 PM on June 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


filthy light thief: "You might want to check into the Green to get some help with your math...you cannot spend or use more than 100% of something

emilyw: "...I can certainly spend more than 100% of my free time, by borrowing liberally from time that was allotted to other things.
"

This is exactly what I meant. I spend a lot of time here, including time that should be spent doing other things.
posted by double block and bleed at 4:56 PM on June 13, 2013


I think it is possible to give more than 100%. Consider blood.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:00 AM on June 18, 2013


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