I STARTED writing about my life so when my daughters ask me about first words or the colour of first shoes, I’ll be able to tell them.

I write about me, because I want them to know what I was like when they were young. By the time they are old enough to care, I’ll be old and grey and dressed head to toe in purple in some old people’s home, smelling of soup and talcum powder. They’ll never believe I was cool.

I want them to get an idea of who I am, in case life wrings me out like a flannel and my spark flickers out.

My mum didn’t know my first word (she knew my brothers of course).

By the time I came along (unplanned) it had all blurred into one long nightmare (her words).

When I had my first child, I judged my mother for her lack of memory.

I thought she didn’t love me at all.

I thought she was a bad mother. Then I had two more children.

Now I too can’t remember the youngest’s first word.

I make it up each time she asks. “Shoe, poo, tree”. I’ve realised it doesn’t really matter.

My mum remembers that time we went on the Alpine ride and almost died. She remembers how I used to only eat stewed apple when I felt sad.

My mum didn’t write down all my firsts, possibly because she was too busy, or had better things to do. I don’t blame her for this.

I like that my mother didn’t speak to anyone on the school run, and never cared about being “in” with anyone. I like that she didn’t feel the need to prove herself.

She’s a bit odd and life will never knock it out of her.

Last week she made my dad get up at 5am to go mushroom picking. He tripped over in the brambles. It was cold and dark and wet.

They didn’t find a single mushroom, but their friends found loads.

Rather than be pleased for them, my mother got in a mood and demanded to go home. She didn’t even want lunch.

The week before, she decided to take a picnic to the hospital for her and dad to share. She’d made it the night before, after a few drinks. The sandwiches were egg mayonnaise.

My dad didn’t want them. He was having a jab in the eye and didn’t want eggy-mayo-mouth.

He offered to buy her a nice lunch, but she said: “No. I’ve made us a lovely picnic and we are going to sit on this bench in the hospital grounds and enjoy it.”

In her tipsiness, she’d forgotten to put the egg mayonnaise in the sandwich. It was just dry bread. My dad asked if there was anything else, hoping for cake.

She pulled out a small bottle of water. He said it was like being in prison.

To cheer him up, mum said: “Let’s play a game. Let’s pretend we are strangers meeting for the first time.”

With nothing to do for an hour, dad agreed and kicked off.

“Hello”, he said. “My name is Rodriquez. I’m a famous bull fighter from Spain.”

“Hello, Rodriquez. My name is Blanch. I’m a famous actress from Estonia.”

That was it. The end of the game.

It’s also the reason I have the coolest parents ever. I don’t mind they didn’t come to parents’ evenings or school plays.

I’m still a bit upset they forgot to pick me up from my first school trip but am more or less over it.

They march to the beat of their own drum. They’ve been together 50 years and still make one another laugh.

They don’t take anything seriously and admire people who can swear well.

Perfect parents and children don’t look like the pictures on the box. They are not real.

On Friday nights, the husband and I have a disco in the kitchen.

Each week we pick a different theme, like “songs you want played at your funeral” or “the song that makes you get up and dance”. I rap along to a Tribe Called Quest while he croons Nick Drake back at me.

After a couple of gins, he twirls me round to “The Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia”, and we twang imaginary braces in time.

The kids see two friends laughing, dancing, singing. Sometimes we even cry. They see two knackered parents celebrating the end of another long imperfect week.

A week which will have involved rows and middle fingers and swear words.

Because we are normal.

I don’t need to perfect, I just need to be me, and encourage them to be them.

They can choose what memories they think are important and which were just another moment in all the chaos.