I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
March 17, 2021
“I’m still coming to see you Thursday, but I have a Zoom appointment at noon that I can’t reschedule,” I told my mom on the phone recently, “So I’m just going to leave in the morning, pull over somewhere, and do the appointment in my car. Then I’ll finish the drive once it’s over.” I was pleased with my ingenious road trip plan. I thought my mom would be, too.
“Exactly where are you pulling over for this phone call?” she asked. “Because I’m not sure that’s such a good idea.”
“Oh don’t worry,” I reassured her. “I’m going to find the darkest alley in the worst part of town and make sure the car doors are unlocked before I make the call.”
Mom laughed reluctantly, but I knew from experience that a tiny piece of her wondered if that was, in fact, my actual plan. I’m the youngest of five kids between my mom and stepdad and it’s become clear over the years that although I’ve legally been adulting for two-and-a-half decades, in both of their minds I am Forever 21.
In my twenties and thirties, their inability to see me as a legitimate grown-up sometimes got on my nerves. I was married with two stepdaughters by the age of 27, but when I visited my parents for a few days and asked if I could have a couple of high school girlfriends over for dinner, Mom worried aloud that they’d both end the night ‘projectile vomiting’ on her antiques.
“Mom, Alicia is an investment banker in Buckhead now and Elizabeth’s pregnant with twins,” I told her. “I want to make them dinner, not get them blackout drunk.”
“Famous last words,” Mom replied darkly.
I met my friends at a restaurant instead.
As I get older, though, I’m discovering that being the family’s designated Peter Pan isn’t so bad. In fact, it’s kind of awesome. While everyone else in my life seems to expect me to have some kind of newfound wisdom and maturity now that I’ve reached my forties, my parents still… don’t. And that’s helpful, because according to the rest of the world, I’m supposed to have it all figured out by now. I’m supposed to be well-established and flourishing in my chosen career. But I’m honestly still not sure what my career even is. Mostly, I just like to write about stuff I’m interested in and get paid for it, but yesterday, I watched a movie on Netflix and seriously considered becoming a nattily-dressed World War II-era British archaeologist. My fellow forty-somethings no longer seem to understand my whims, let alone support them…. but you know who does?
“OF COURSE you don’t have it all figured out,” they reassured me during my last visit, when I voiced my frustrations over dinner. “You’re still so young. You’re practically a baby! You have so much of your life ahead of you! And you still have a lot to learn!” These words would have driven me crazy in my thirties… but at 45, they felt like a soothing balm to my soul.
“Thank you,” I sniffed. “I feel much better now.” I sighed and gazed out their bay window at the dimly lit golf course behind their house. “You know, I think I’m going to go for a walk on the golf course and clear my head.”
“What? Are you sure?” my stepdad asked, immediately on high alert. “It’s 9 o’clock, Lindsay! It’s very late!”
‘This is Atlanta,” my mom added dubiously. “Not Nashville. It’s different here.”
“This is a gated community in the suburbs,” I laughed. “It’s probably the safest place I could choose for a night walk!”
“Did I tell you Steve saw a ten-point deer out on the golf course the other night?” my stepdad said. “I’d hate for you to come across him. It’s rutting season and that deer might be aggressive.”
“Okay, well that sounds scary,” I admitted slowly, “but if I start feeling afraid when I’m walking, I’ll just remind myself of how many times I’ve read news stories about people who were killed by aggressive deer while walking on a golf course at night.” My stepdad laughed, but I could see real concern in his eyes. I paused for a moment.
“Maybe I’ll walk tomorrow morning,” I mumbled, yawning. “I’m actually really tired, now that I think of it. I’m just going to go to bed.” My parents looked deeply relieved. Their youngest would live to see another day, all thanks to them.
We said our good nights and I retired to my bedroom, where I immediately tiptoed across the carpet, raised the window, climbed out and jumped down into the bushes outside. I did a quick visual sweep for aggressive deer and then headed out for my walk, pleased to find that sneaking out is like riding a bicycle — Once you master it, you never really forget how to do it.
Suddenly, the motion sensor floodlights came on and I ran and hid behind a tree, just in case my parents looked out the window. I waited a few seconds for the lights to shut off again, then continued on my way, chuckling as I wondered why on earth my parents still insisted on treating me like I was sixteen years old.