The word of the day is yurt. It doesn’t quite roll off the tongue as much as it slingshots through the mouth.
Webster’s Dictionary defines yurt as: “a circular domed tent of skins or felt stretched over a collapsible lattice framework.”
Currently, it’s what’s taking up 150 square feet of my backyard.
The hideaway sits in a clearing next to the swing set on the top of a very green hill on our two-acre property. It has a table and room to sleep at least six. Small string lights line the inside and a small astroturf covered porch holds an orange planter and an American flag.
It’s basically nicer than my first two apartments.
As with any new toy, my eight-year-old daughters can’t get enough. Despite some questionable spring weather, they have been camping out day and night in their new weatherproof tent.
More pleading tonight for yet another sleep out and even though the rain is coming down a little harder, I give in and tuck my sweet adventurers in with a kiss good night. I zip up the double layer “front door,” as I reluctantly walk away.
The yurt that holds my two baby girls glows just 150 feet from where I now lay in our bedroom. My husband and I are on the second story of our home. There are two large widows flanking the bed and we can look out over the back yard.
Restless, I crack my window and hear the steady rain and distant thunder. This is summer in Pennsylvania; this storm shall too pass.
Sleep. Wake. Sleep. Wake. Exhausted from nine years of children and shift work, I can usually doze on cue, but tonight I can’t calm down. My nerves won’t give. I look outside and feel fear for my kids. I want to grab them and bring them back inside, safe in their beds.
But I’m being silly. Overprotective. Paranoid. They are safe. They are spreading their wings. I’ve always held on so tight because it was so hard to make them mine to begin with.
I need to let go.
More lightning and thunder, heavier rain, and then it stops.
I fall back to sleep. Saying a prayer for rest and for the safety of my girls. Proud of myself for not being an overprotective mother and allowing them this bit of freedom and growth.
Then just like that I’m awake again. Minutes have passed, maybe an hour. I just can’t seem to shake this feeling. I give into the fact that I won’t sleep unless my children are out of that yurt.
I run down the stairs, through the kitchen, out the backdoor into the wet night.
The rain is coming down in sheets. My thin shorts and T-shirt are no match for the rainstorm.
I grab a pool towel and throw it over my head. It’s just one more piece of fabric for the night to drench.
The double zippers part and I’m inside the yurt with my girls. The rain is deafening on the tightly stretched fabric. Yet, the children sleep peacefully. Their sleeping forms hold no indication of unease or concern; those feelings alone belong to me.
I need to get them out. I don’t know why. I am being ridiculous I am sure! But these kids need to be inside our home.
Despite the cacophony of thunder and rain it’s not easy to wake the sleeping girls. Once I do, I cruelly force them into the punishing downpour outside their cozy cabin. We run to the backdoor and make it inside soaked and confused.
They don’t understand. Neither do I.
But there is relief.
I take them upstairs, dry them off and tuck them safety into their bunk beds down the hall from my room.
They sleep immediately.
As do I. The panic is gone. The fear replaced with ease.
The morning comes quickly and with it stillness. No rain, no wind, no movement.
“We lost the transformer.” My husband delivers sleepily, as he rolls over to say good morning.
We’ve been off the grid for a couple hours now. He turns to me unconcerned about the outage, and unaware of my actions last night. I still feel embarrassed that I gave into my worry and pulled my children away from their fun. But the feeling begins to drain away as something causes me to slowly pop up my head and gaze out his window.
Lying next to the yurt, a downed tree, a blown transformer. A visual message as clear as if it were written: Never question your intuition.
You are a mother.
Kerstin Lindquist and her husband live with their three children in a farmhouse in West Chester, Pennsylvania. They spend their free time in warm climates – preferably with sand. She is an award-winning broadcast news journalist, author and host at the leading national home shopping channel. Kerstin writes on adoption, infertility, faith, parenting, fitness and travel.