I’ve been sitting down at my computer for well over an hour, watching Captain Planet videos and trying to think of a topic for this column. People have suggested looking back on 2008, or looking forward to 2009, or trying to find some connection between wrestling and Christmas. Then, my golden retriever, the genius of the family, walked in to the room carrying a card still in its envelope — a card for my mother, whose birthday is tomorrow. And if I can pull myself away from the Planeteers long enough to finish this column, hopefully it will be completed for her birthday.

When asked, my mom will jokingly blame my father for getting me in to wrestling. I started watching wrestling with my dad and my sister when I was just a toddler, and I’ve wanted to wrestle ever since. My parents will readily tell you that raising a would-be wrestler was not always an easy task; from the time I was about two years old, sleeping in my house put you at risk of falling victim to a flying elbow, and the furniture was never safe from my attempts to emulate 1-2-3 Kid’s somersault plancha.

While I’m sure most mothers would probably prefer their daughter take interest in something — anything — besides pro wrestling, my mother was always supportive. Looking back on it, I’m not sure which is most impressive; that she used her then-job at the local arena to get my dad, my sister, and me seats to all of the wrestling shows that came through town; that she taught me how to read primarily with WWF Magazine, which, while hindering my ability to spell “heart” for quite sometime, allowed me the ability to spell “intercontinental” since roughly age four; or, that after ordering me my very first live pay-per-view, Survivor Series 1993, she watched the tape with me so many times that, to this day, she can recite Razor Ramon’s entire pre-match promo.

My mother originally thought my interest in wrestling would pass long before I became old enough to actually become a wrestler. Obviously, this is rare evidence that mothers are not quite always right. 

My parents and sister bent over backwards to help me train to wrestle while still in high school, many times making the almost three-hour round-trip to get me to and from training when taking the train wasn’t an option. When I set out to a show in Quebec one day, hoping to get booked in my first match but with no guarantees, my parents and sister made the drive up as well, and sat front-row for my very first match, which, in case anyone was wondering, took place in a flea market that had a lot of really cool swords.

As my career has progressed, my mom has become one of my biggest fans, despite her ever-present fear of injuries. 

While my local matches may not be as frequent as they used to be, she and my dad still come see me wrestle whenever they can, once driving all the way to Cleveland — a drive that’s over seven hours one-way — to see a match that they were particularly excited about. 

And after five years of telling her that injuries “aren’t as bad as they look,” near-death experiences “weren’t as bad as they sound,” and traveling to India “is no danger at all,” my mom still remains unfailingly supportive, despite the fact that all those things I just mentioned were pretty much lies, and I’m pretty sure she knows it.

So today, after a lifetime of having her birthday forgotten amongst the holidays, I wish my mom a happy birthday, and say thanks for putting up with 21 years of non-stop wrestling, continuous eating, and my constantly-shedding dog.