When I was very young, before my years in Colorado, I lived in Northwest Indiana near Chicago. So, spring break was always a fun time, because it meant leaving the cold and heading for somewhere warm. I will never forget the excitement of driving to O’Hare International Airport with my mom and my grandma so we could board a plane and head to the warmth of Florida.
My mom loved Florida. Absolutely loved it. She was from the generation where they doused themselves in baby oil and betadine (my mom was a nurse, which is why she had access to it) as they laid out in their backyards, in search of that perfect bronze tan. So, I think part of the allure of Florida was obviously being able to suntan on the beach. She never let my skin see the sun, though. Oh, no. I was covered with SPF 50. Head to toe. If I could, I’d thank her for that now.
When we arrived, I vividly remember her cleaning the house we rented. She’d go over it before we were allowed to unpack or head to the beach. In case you aren’t aware, there are bugs in Florida that rival small birds. It’s ridiculous.
After moving to Florida, the first time I saw a Palmetto bug (fancy word for “fucking giant, ugly roach that can also FLY”), I almost peed my pants. Not only was it so freaking big, but it was not afraid of us. At all. I now know why, one day, roaches will be the last survivors on this planet. They’re indestructible and, goddamn, they are disgusting.
The story just took a turn that I was not expecting. I apologize.
Anyway… One of the things that we did while in Florida was go to Walt Disney World. The first time I went, I was five, and I was adorable. I had a dress on that had “Erin” embroidered across the chest and whenever someone said, “Hi, Erin,” I’d ask my mom how they knew my name. I wasn’t dense. I was sheltered. Come on, now. I promise I got smarter as I grew.
While in Disney World—Magic Kingdom, to be exact—we obviously went to the parade. The parade, if you’ve never been, is truly magical. All of the characters make appearances and most of them try to walk along the side of the road to shake the kids’ hands. Even as an adult, I still get excited about the parade.
Well, let me tell you… I was so excited and nervous to meet Minnie Mouse. I was practically in tears. She was so close, too. She was walking down the street toward me! I was going to meet her! SHAKE HER HAND! Oh, my God. My stomach was filled with butterflies. So, she’s getting closer and closer, and I’m squealing like, well, a child, and…
She passed me up.
Yep. Minnie Mouse passed me up. She didn’t stop. She didn’t shake my hand. She ignored me.
My five-year-old heart was broken. I began crying immediately, and sadly, I was barely consolable. My mom was great, of course. She had Mickey and Pluto come over, but I didn’t give a rat’s ass about meeting Mickey or Pluto. I wanted Minnie Mouse.
(I know, I know. I had no idea I was a lesbian until much later in life. I don’t know why my mom was shocked, though.)
So, needless to say, after hearing that story, you probably all can understand why I couldn’t stand Minnie Mouse any longer.
Until last month.
I finally put away my hatred for the female mouse and decided to meet her while I was at Epcot. And, I hate to admit it, but it was truly magical all over again. I felt a sense of relief, like I could let go of the heartbreak. Finally. After a lot of fucking years.
The best part, though? It made me feel like my mom had a little something to do with the whole thing this time. She passed away a little over seven years ago. So, believing that, from wherever she’s perched, watching over me, she made sure Minnie hugged me and made me feel special, makes the entire experience even more special.
Anyway… Have a great spring break, wherever you are headed. And remember: don’t give up on your dreams, even when they ignore you the first time.