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Dear Connor | Being a grownup sucks

By Linda Grist Cunningham, editor and proprietor

Linda Grist Cunningham is editor and proprietor of Key West Island News and KeyWestWatch Media LLC. She and her husband, a park ranger at Fort Zach, live in Key West with their Cat 5s.


Lee and Sarah

Good morning, Connor.

Being a grownup sucks. You’re three so you’re thinking about things like blue PlayDoh. You think Henny-Penny is a great kids’ book about a nutso chicken, not a description of this summer’s run amok world. But, yeah, being a grownup sucks because, well, you’re the grown up and you have to make all manner of decisions you wish someone else would make.

One of the hardest things about being a grownup is figuring out how to be a good parent. When your Dada was little like you, I used to say (not totally in jest) that if he turned into an ax murderer it would be because I went back to work when he was six weeks old. Your Dada did not become an ax murderer, so we must have done something right along the way.

Anyway, I’ve been texting with your Dada about these Dear Connor columns I’ve begun to write to help me make sense of this world we live in. I thought you might someday like to know how smart your MamaDada are. Here’s a column your dad wrote after he read my first Dear Connor columns.

My parents have always been there, first to keep me safe, then to teach, then to laugh and experience life. There were times growing up that I would turn to one or the other for a sounding board, guidance and some insight.

In the last 3+ years, as Sarah and I raise our son Connor, those moments for guidance and insight have increased. Most notably the past few months as it looks and feels like much of our social fabric is being ripped apart by divisive words, hateful actions and a truly uncertain and somewhat scary patch into the future.

We worry for the future our son will inherit from our, our parents and all those before him have worked to create – many times with good intentions, other times with only a single thought for the self and ‘us’ in a situation.

We are, and will be challenged as his parents to not just keep him healthy, but to also go beyond the standard education. Provide him with the social, technical and mental tools to confront a world that I personally believe no one has envisioned or can even predict. Sarah and I are still working out how to accomplish that monumental task – all while preserving the sparkle in his eyes and the love and kindness in his heart. We will probably have to take it one day at a time, adjusting our target as we go, and remain vigilant to ward off the anger and hate that feels so close some days.

Today, my mom Linda Grist Cunningham did what she does best and processed some of her feelings through writing. Her voice is always best when she has a passion, and I believe that today, she found a big pile of that passion writing about the world we are in today, where it came from and most importantly, leaving a legacy of advice and anecdotes for her grandson Connor to one day read.

As she just texted to me while I was writing this “it’s not original,” but I replied back that the voice and message bring something unique. I believe these and her future writings will resonate with many of my friends and followers. Perhaps you to will want to pass on the words to others. Or, be inspired to do something yourself.

I think your Dada turned out pretty good.

Love you, Connor Cunningham. Don’t forget your prayers.

“Dear Connor” will become a collection of occasional blog posts written for Connor Cunningham by his grandmother, Linda Grist Cunningham. I began writing these as my construct for making sense of the unraveling American community. Connor may never read them, nor might others; but they’ll help me distill solutions from the cacophony that passes for discourse in the summer of 2016.  


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