Thursday, January 14, 2016

Who Is This Kid?

Mason's postcard
My son Mason is 12 years old. For the most part, he is a normal 12 year old boy who is strong willed, determined, obstinate, and can be a real pain in the butt for his dad and I. He loves to play video games, ride his BMX bike and skateboard, he skis and snowboards, and of course he cooks. When it comes to cooking, he's quite exceptional. He loves to perform and he can rock a live cooking demo or television performance like a seasoned professional. Last year he had the opportunity to compete on Chopped Junior on Food Network and he won, holy cow, he won!

Our hometown has been so excited to have a Chopped Junior Champion on the map that our local Max's Restaurant asked if he would put one of his recipes on their menu and he went with his spicy street taco from the show. Last night Mason was scheduled to be at the restaurant to meet and greet diners, talk about the show and see how they liked his tacos. I expected him to chat with people as he's quite outgoing but I did not expect what I saw last night, not at all.

Mason had dinner with the restaurant manager and people walked up to the table to talk to him as he was wearing his CJ chef coat so they knew who he was. When he finished eating, he washed his hands, grabbed his postcards and started working the room. He walked up to each table in the lounge and then he made his way to the dining room. I tried to get in behind him to take a photo or two, but I was intercepted by diners asking if I was Mason's mom. By the time the night was done, so many people had come in to see him, he signed photos, took pictures, and answered questions about cooking and competing on CJ. One of the people who came in to meet Mason was a young man with autism, Mason made that child feel like a million bucks! I was so proud of my child last night.

When the night was over and we were getting ready for bed, I asked Mason what he said to people in the dining room when he walked up to the tables. He replied, "I just walked up and said, Hi, welcome to Max's. I'm Mason Partak. I'm guest cheffing and my spicy street tacos are on the menu this month." WOW! WOW! I can't imagine having such a sense of myself at 12 years old. Now I know why people were stopping me and complimenting me. The truth is this though, Dave and I cannot take all the credit for who Mason is, to a large degree our kids are who they are and it is up to us as their parents to either foster those qualities or squash them. Are you tuned in as a parent? I think being older parents has really served us and obviously, it's been good for Mason, too.

Tune in to your kids, listen to who they are and then find ways to support them to be more of that. Be okay when that changes and when then want to explore different things in life, you will be so glad you did when you see your kid step up and as someone said last night, "live on purpose" at the ripe old age of 12 years old.


Michele Jennae said...

WOW! I can totally feel the overwhelm of emotion in the post Kathy! So amazing.

It's true that Mason is his own person and he obviously deserves huge KUDOS for all he is accomplishing. But at the same time You and Dave are responsible for channeling that talent and energy in a positive way, while also keeping him grounded, and I am certain he can be on Cloud Nine a lot!

I am so happy for your combined and individual successes.

With heart, soul, and creativity,
Michele Jennae

Kathy Partak said...

Thank you Michele, you got my point exactly. I think being a little older when I had Mason, I am past the tough years or trying to figure out who I am so I can tune in to and enjoy him. Since we started the cooking and school kitchen project journey, that has really been my message, 'Let's empower our kids and see what they can do!"