Scott Lenz: If a stay-at-home dad falls in the woods, and there are no children there to hear it -- does it make a sound? This is my way of telling you that both of my kids are gone, at camp, for two weeks. After a surprisingly smooth send-off -- no anguish, no anxiety -- I returned home to an eerily quiet house and did something I haven't done since I was five years old: I took a nap. I even dreamed.
I awoke, filled with an odd sense -- which I quickly identified as purposelessness. Then a vortex started to form, fraught with opportunities unseen theretofore. I reached out and grabbed one: I could paint the spots in the powder room where the cat tried to climb out of the window. I plucked another: I could listen to that Kate Bush LP I haven't heard since 1987. And yet another: I could ... write. I e-mailed an old journalist friend of mine, asked if I could review a CD, and voila -- he put it on his website. You mean all this time it was just that easy?
Meanwhile, things were apparently going well at camp, as illustrated by the opening of my daughter's first letter to us: "Hey you guys," rather than, say, "Dear Mom and Dad." Conversely, my first e-mail to her went thusly: "Dear Georgia, I put something away in your empty room today and cried -- but I know you're having a great time, so that makes me smile. Love, Dad."
As the days both race and slog by while they are absent, I have come to a simple but important conclusion -- for myself and as a parent: I am fortunate to be equally content, with and without my kids.
|Scott Lenz, a former music journalist and television producer, is a stay-at-home dad to his two children, Jaron and Georgia, and a stay-at-home husband to his wife, Suzanne. They all live in Los Angeles.|