Santa brought Owen a go-kart.

Santa was reluctant, despite Mrs. Claus’s pleadings that it is what he asked for and that this might be the last year he believes in him. And doesn't he have any Christmas spirit. Even a little bit.
Santa was caught up in details, like who was going to put it together, how safe it was, how were we going to get it under the tree and the hefty pricetag.
Mrs. Claus only thought of her son excited on Christmas morning or driving little circles around our cul-de-sac and sent him text after text that they were on sale. And to hurry up before they were all gone.

We did Christmas morning a day early at our house. Due to Santa’s demaning travel schedule and things like how impossible it would be a to sneak an entire person sized gokart into my car before heading over the river and through the woods.
He was not as excited as Mrs. Claus had hoped.
His sleepy eyes took it for a few spins around the living room and then we all piled into our real car and headed South.

When we got to my parents house, it was a different story. They live on a circular street, kind of like we do. But instead of ending in a a cul de sac, there street has a parking island in the middle. Their entire street makes for a perfect race loop.

Even before hugging Annie and PawPaw hello, he wanted to put on my old bike helmet Mr. Claus had insisted on and hitting the pavement for a few loops. (clearly, Mrs. Claus is a safety second kind of girl).

The other cousins lined up for there turn, they wore the tires down to the thread and drained the battery in the course of one afternoon.
Tess has happy to watch or chase it for a stretch.
I insisted that she try it out.
I grabbed the bike helmet from whatever 8 year old was next in line for the keys.
She said No! That she was scared as I clipped the buckle under her chin and let the way too big helmet slide over her eyebrows. She told me that she didn’t know how to drive yet.
I told her not to be scared. That it would be fun. Just to try it out.
In retrospect I now realize I sound like a horrible picture of the bad friend in an after school special. I might as well have been trying to give my 5 year old daughter pot. Instead, I was just trying to push her to not let fear win. To stop watching from the sidelines. To literally get in the drivers seat.

I showed her how to push the throttle forward a bit and off zoomed down the driveway.

Screaming. Straight into my already been in too many accidents new car.

I chased after her, but was no match for the now recharged battery. She screamed. My husband kept yelling “let her go”. I thought maybe he knew about some magic go kart air bag or crumple zones.
Instead, he had really been yelling “let it go” to Tess. As in let go of the throttle. Stop giving it gas and it will stop. As usual I misunderstood. And apparently he didn’t realize that he was talking to this little tiny miniature version of me, that even at 5 only knows how to go at one speed.

Tess hit the rear bumber of my car at full speed, and flopped forward a bit. There were no skinned knees. No broken bones. No missing teeth and not even any new dents in my car.

But she cried and carried on like she had just been cut out of the go kart with the jaws of life.I couldn’t believe how foolish I’d been. How I’d pushed her without teaching her the most important things.
How to use the breaks.
How to slow down.
To stop.
To turn.
How to do anything except hit the gas.

She had wrecked for the same exact reason I often do.
For going full speed even when I realize I should slow down.
For jumping in without caution.
For not stopping or bailing even when it is time.
Not knowing how to simply let it go.

Tess isn’t interested in driving for a while. And, lets honest, my driving record is less than stellar. I am literally on defensivedriving.com’s Christmas list.

It might be time we both work on finding our brakes.

 (speaking of driving....last night I drove around the block an extra two times just to hear this song again)