a) I've met Steven Spielberg
b) I've met Rhydian
c) I've had a letter from the Queen about stamps
and d), the trump card: I can fly a plane. Yes, just like Carol Vorderman. But not in tight white trousers.
I mean, really - can there be anyone cooler?
Apparently, there can. According to my children, if there was a Cool Chart, I would be at minus infinity. It appears that my cool 'pilot points' are swiftly cancelled out by my inability to stop myself whooping loudly when excited. And by adding the suffix 'ie' to both my sons' names. And by far the worst - forcing them to explain what their teenage speak means, and then using it in public. Example:
Teenagers: *mutter mutter mutter* BAY *mutter mutter mutter*
Me: Oh, hello! That sounds like an interesting conversation. What does B-A-Y mean? Bay tree? Bay Watch?
Teenagers: *mutter effoff mutter* It's BAE, not BAY.
Me: Well, anyway *shuffles uncomfortably* what does it mean?
Teenagers, looking sideways at each other: It means Before Anyone Else.
Me: Oh, super! So you're my BAEs? You really are! *sings* You're my BAEs, my lovely son BAEs, fa-la-la...*attempts to give them both a kiss*
Teenagers, escaping: OH MY GOD MUM YOU ARE SO UNCOOL!
I'm also an enthusiastic fan of regional accents. As I grew up in Birmingham, the Brummie is always a good one to bring out, as is the Sheffield, plus the West Country. Til the age of about 10, this vaguely amused the kids - or at least they pretended to laugh - but now, when I bring out my 'Brummie', eyes roll and the stock phrase comes out.
GOD MUM, YOU ARE SO RACIST!
This has confused me. I didn't think that putting on a funny accent was racist. But now my children, who are from an uberly politically correct world, have put me at a vague unease. So I now do fewer accents, and when they come out, they are only whispered. To the cat.
I can control the accents (to a point), but one thing I have no control over is crying when watching a film. Or the telly. Or hearing a sad piece of music. If we're in the cinema, and something sad happens, I can see them physically tense up next to me. I try to stop the tears and the sniffling and, sometimes, the choking sobs, but the more I try, the worse it becomes.
Occasionally they have moved seats to be rid of me. Taking the sodding popcorn with them.
Other uncool elements to my parenting: forcing them to text me when they're out and about; turning the WiFi off at 10pm and not letting them play Call of Duty; not upgrading their phones (because I can't afford it); inviting myself on trips to Alton Towers with them.
I understand what's happening. They are pulling at the elastic. They don't really need me anymore. Or rather, they don't want me. I am the boring authority figure, who doesn't understand what they are saying, who forces them to bed at a reasonable time, who was never young and who just doesn't understand.
I, on the other hand, can see them slipping away from me, and am trying to suppress the panic that is rising up inside me. Perhaps it is more pronounced because I am a single parent? Who knows. But I recognise that this is all part of them growing up, and getting on. I've got to gradually let go of the controls and give them more space. More responsibility. Freedom to cock up and find ways to get out of tight scrapes.
In the hope that, one day, they might laugh again at my jokes. Or say, "Hey mum - tell us about the time you met Rhydian. That's such a great story!" Or even, if I'm very lucky, ask for the 'Brummie' to be let out of its drawer.