Matt Gardner

As my children, Mattie, seven, and Makenzie, four, grow older I am amazed at how fast they are growing. Makenzie will turn five August 27 and I recently joked with her that she could not turn five because I needed her to stay four. She replied, without skipping a beat, that she had to turn five so she could swim in the deep end of the pool without any floaties.

Another afternoon she told me, “Daddy when I was born, I was so cute.” She is also notorious in our little family for playing the animal picking game. I’m not sure how this game started. Legend tells it was started by one of my close friends, Chris Floyd, known to the girls as ‘Uncle Tris’. The object of the game is to think of an animal and give clues until the others playing are able to guess the correct animal. Makenzie, or Kenzie, is known to stick to the same animal for many rounds prompting others to guess before she even gets started.

Mattie, or Matt-Matt, has had her fair share of moments as well. One of her funniest occurred one afternoon while visiting with a friend of the family, Carrie Beth (CB) Davis. She asked why do you not have a boyfriend? To which CB responded she did not know. Mattie after a few seconds responded she needed to get a bigger house and then she would get a boyfriend. At the time CB was living in an apartment.

Another of Mattie’s funniest moments occurred when she visited Dallas, Texas in 2017 with my parents, Freddy and Lynn. The three of them attended the Southern Baptist Convention and Mattie had her first airplane ride and her first time sleeping in her own king size bed alone. After finding out from my mother, ‘meme’, that she would have the whole bed to herself she stated, “This is the best day of my life!”

There have been several others I can’t recall, but the girls will say and do some of the funniest things. Also, you better not tell them something you do not intend to follow up on. There have been multiple times after days, weeks and, on one occasion many months, later they remind me of my promise.

One such time happened recently with telling the girls we would get them a snack later, cotton candy for Kenzie and chips for Matt-Matt. A few days later they made sure to remind Carrie and I what we had told them.

Some of my most favorite moments have been when they hear that I have made it home. No matter how long or hard the day has been, everything melts away when I hear those sweet voices scream, “Daddy’s home” while running to greet me.

I have been told numerous times, and I am beginning to understand more and more, that our time with our children is short and to enjoy it while we can. Seems like just yesterday they were born and now they are both already in school.

•Matt Gardner is the Publisher of The Blackshear Times. Email him at