Whoever said money can’t buy happiness was never a chubby Ohio kid on vacation at Disney World.

At a ripe and round 13, my parents used the money they’d received after my dear grandmother’s passing to take me to the most magical place on earth. It was my first foray into Florida, and while I’d have gladly moved into the castle that day—it was transformed into a birthday cake for its 25th anniversary and I was chubby for a reason—I had no intention of moving here until a decade later.

Years still after that, my rare, Florida-born husband and I go to Disney fairly often. We have our passes, our 20 percent discount for whosits and whatits galore (that he’ll wrongly tell you I don’t need) and our semi-cultish Mickey magnets.

At 13 and as a product of blue-collar America struggling to make ends meet, I was convinced I’d never set foot or fin in that park again. It took unimaginable tragedy to get us there and probably every last cent my parents had.

But just as my grandmother would’ve been, they were ecstatic to see me meet Ariel, my sister from another fin-ster. My mother and stepfather have always been incredibly selfless when it comes to my happiness.

On our last day in the park, my mother caught me admiring a musical snow globe. Inside, Ariel swirled around Prince Eric’s statue as Sebastian looked on in horror, either from the little mermaid’s audacity or the price tag below him. It played “Part of Your World” and was the most beautiful and expensive thing I’d ever held.

As I shell out more than that each month for our Disney passes, it’s endearing and heartbreaking to think about what a difference $50 can make to a family like mine. But without hesitation, she bought it for me—really my only trinket from that trip.

The symbolism of my mother’s love swirled in that aging snow globe for years. Money had bought happiness via her selflessness, which I’d have certainly felt without the snow globe, but it was a tangible reminder that I adored.

I displayed it proudly in my middle school bedroom all the way to my last college apartment. It moved everywhere with me until I moved to Florida, when it was shattered during the packing process. I was heartbroken.

Another decade later, my mother sent me $100 for my birthday; far too much money and more than she has to offer freely. She told me to buy the globe again on eBay. It had never even occurred to me. What kind of sea witch would put such a priceless gem up for sale?

My replacement Ariel globe recently arrived in the mail. It looks the same, sounds the same and because of my mother, retains its meaning. As we approach Mother’s Day, I appreciate her thoughtful and selfless love more than ever.

Love and selflessness aren’t exclusive to Ariel globes and mother-son bonds, however, as proven by the non-profit Big Brothers Big Sisters. In Tampa Bay news this issue, we take a look at their local chapter’s initiative to put children first and seek LGBTQ mentors. We also check in with the upcoming Harvey Milk Festival in Sarasota.

In Central Florida news, we examine the controversy surrounding GayDayS, Inc.’s 2019 move from the first weekend in June to mid-August. We also detail the One Orlando Alliance’s selection of former Alabama Rep. Patricia Todd as the organization’s executive director.

For our cover story, we preview the LGBTQ installments of the Orlando Fringe festival. Sticking with Arts & Entertainment, we check in with American Stage and local actor Matthew McGee about “The Producers” in the Park, playing now.

Watermark strives to bring you a variety of stories, your stories. I hope you enjoy this latest issue.

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