Vertigo. Noun. According to, “a dizzying sensation of tilting within stable surroundings or of being in tilting or spinning surroundings.”


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I love rides. All of them. Even the rickety county fair ones and the ones that go upside down. When I was a little kid at the county fair, I would scamper enthusiastically from Tilt-a-Whirl to Scrambler, spinning and screaming the life out of my four-hour wristband.

But sometimes when my four hours was up, the spinning wouldn’t stop. I’d wobble to the car feeling dizzy, the ground uncertain beneath my feet. Vertigo would hit.

Sometimes life does that to me, too.

Like when I realized that my summer is over.

(Okay, so technically summer ends on September 21, but everyone who has any sense knows that once you go back to school, summer shuts down.)

On Friday, I said the big end-of-summer farewell to the pool, where I packed up my sunscreen and stopwatch and handed out end-of-the-week suckers for the last time. Normally by the end of the season I am sick of shouting at kids and watching endless kicks and cannonballs. But this summer, I felt like I was just getting into the swing of things. I wasn’t quite worn out yet. Maybe it was the crappy weather that’s kept business way too slow. Maybe it’s that I actually like my job. Whatever it was, it made washing swimsuits for the last time was a little more sudden and bittersweet than usual.

Then on Saturday, my family snatched one more day at the lake. The weather miraculously cooperated, and I kayaked and swam and tubed and squeezed the last drops from summer. It was blissful and sunshiny and way too short. When the sun went down, I felt like tearfully begging my parents “One more day!” like I used to do as a kiddo when we packed up to head home.

If you can’t tell, I wasn’t quite ready for it all to end.

Now I’m back at college. Boxes have been unpacked, friends have been greeted, the first day of RA Training has been completed, the inaugural game of sand volleyball has been played. It’s good. And the rest of the school year will be too. I hope. But it just feels like summer ended jarringly, without my permission and not in the exact manner I would prefer. August is not supposed to be colder than June. I’m not supposed to get sunburned two days before my job is done, leaving me with a scaly lobster-tinted nose. Three months of family time and sweet sunshine are not supposed to go by quite so quickly. I should not enter the school year feeling unprepared for my new role and dizzied by new expectations after having a whole summer to prepare.

It throws me when things don’t work out the way they’re supposed to.

It shows me I’m not in control.

It tells me that stuff is going to happen whether I want it to or not.

It makes me yearn for stable ground that won’t whip me around until I’m dizzy.

It’s a good thing I know Who’s constant, Who’s in control, Who’s going to hold me steady. Otherwise this Tilt-A-Whirl of life might make me a little nauseous.


2 thoughts on “Vertigo

  1. The vertigo really hits when you are the mom and your kids are abruptly leaving home after a great almost three months at home. Miss you, Mom

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