This is the first time since May that my husband and I have had some time alone together.

My 23 year old son is at RH Children's Hospice for respite and its my 49th birthday. My husband and I have had a lovely day together, went shopping in Glasgow and got my outfit for my University Graduation Ceremony in November, then went out for a very nice meal.

This has been the first time since my son was born that he hasn't been here for my birthday - he telephoned to wish me a happy birthday and to tell me that he is having a great time with all his mates at the hospice but I still feel guilty for having enjoyed myself and not thought about him during the day - do other parents and carers feel like this?

We won't be coming home again until Friday - its crazy isn't it when he's here he's hard work and we need a break but when he's away the house is so empty and quiet. I suppose if circumstances were different he could be living independently by now but it still seems strange to be without him.

I think I should stay off the pear cider I am getting maudlin!