My cousin Susan has two daughters, Christy and Dannielle. You might remember Susan and Dannielle from the blog article about Carlsbad Caverns ("Did You Hear That?" - Archives 10/3/04 - 10/9/04). Christy recently had a baby girl and we have just found out that Dannielle is pregnant. Dannielle, her husband and Christy's husband are all in the military and we are hoping to see them all for Christmas.
It seems like it was only yesterday that my cousins and I were taking the kids around Southeast Texas to see Christmas lights. My cousin, Dawn (Susan's sister), has a son named Brady and a daughter named Tiffany. Tiffany and my cousin Derek's (Dawn and Susan's brother) kids (Mya and Ava) came along later. But, Brady, Christy, Cory (my son), Kara (my cousin) and Dannielle were stairsteps, all born within a year of each other.
One Christmas, we piled all the kids (ages 7, 6, 5, 4, 3) into two cars to caravan to see the beautiful decorations in Nederland and Port Arthur where we lived at the time. My cousins live in Louisiana and I'm sure they have gorgeous Christmas decorations over there as well. However, as we were driving along, Christy (6 years old) proclaimed in her thick Cajun accent, "Boy, mama! These Texans sure know how to do Christmas, yes!"
We turned down one street and there was a fake Santa standing in front of his house handing out hard candy. We (stupidly) gave all the kids candy. As we pulled away from Santa, I heard gagging from the back seat and Christy yelled, "Mama! Cory's choking!" In one continuous dramatic ballet of impending doom, I stopped the car, put it in park, reached behind me, grabbed Cory (5 years old) under his armpits, pulled him upside down over the front seat and shook him (still upside down) outside my driver's side car door. Out popped the candy, Cory was replaced into the backseat and we moved on. My sister, who was driving behind us, said it was an amazing sight to see.
It's hard to believe that these kids are now adults. Dannielle was and always has been fearless. (She jumps out of planes for a living.) When she was about two, she was the slayer of bugs no matter how big or small. Christy's childhood claim to fame was catching the chicken at the "courir de Mardi Gras" in Lafayette, much to the embarrassment of Cory and Brady.
I'm sure Christy and Dannielle will both make wonderful parents. I have one important piece of advice. Don't let your kids take hard candy from a fake Santa standing in the middle of a street in Nederland, Texas, no matter how much your bratty kids beg.