This was a joyful, yet tear-filled weekend all the way around. I had a lot of my friends who had kids that graduated from high school. I canít imagine the day that I have to look my boys in the eyes and realize they are now old enough to make their own decisions and choices and be moving on to the next chapter of their lives. I cried and I smiled all weekend for my friends. I can only imagine how proud they are, but also dealing with the emotions of letting go.

However, we reached a milestone this weekend in our house Ö my baby turned 13. I have been unbelievably blessed by three very intelligent, healthy, independent and caring young men in my life. Itís hard for me to think of my baby as a teenager, because there are still nights that he crawls up next to me in bed to watch TV or he needs a shoulder rub or he just wants to give me a hug.

I had more fun watching him this weekend with all of his friends, throwing a great 13th birthday party, and toting them all around from activity to activity. Even though it wore me out and I ended up with a sinus infection and laryngitis I still had a blast watching the smiles on all their faces.

Itís amazing to me, I am enjoying watching him grow, and change, and mature (some); and Iím not going to be one of those moms that doesnít realize heís not 40, when in fact he really is 40. I will slowly loosen the reigns when need be; but right now I am having so much fun with him during this time. Of course there is the occasional bad attitude, or smart mouth, or laziness that most teen parents have to deal with Ö but thatís just hormones and them testing their boundaries with you.

I can remember the day he was born like it was yesterday. I remember what my hospital room looked like, all the crazy chaos of the day with grandparents trying to get there from Texas (since he was born in Minnesota). I remember how long it took my epidural to wear off and how numb my legs were. Everything about that day is burned into my memory. Not only was he my first born, but he has been my buddy along our path of adventures. We have climbed many hurdles together as a team.

And no matter how old my baby gets he always knows he can talk to me about anything. In fact he has told me that, and it just fills my heart with joy to hear that. I know one day I will have to hand him off, and she will be his best friend; but until then I always hope we have this incredible bond that allows us to talk, stay in touch in each otherís lives, and be there for him whenever he needs his momma.

There are days I look in the mirror and think, ďNo way you have a teenager,Ē but then there are those days that I do. My biggest joy in life has been watching all of my boys grow, mature and change at their own paces.

One has matured in certain ways more than the others, and vice versa. Even though they have all had the same life, been given the same opportunities, it is always amazing to me how different everyone can be.

So to that I say enjoy your kids for who they are. Donít try to compare them to others (especially other siblings). And enjoy them while you have them because one day very soon you will be staring down the payment end of a college tuition invoice, or a car payment, or even a wedding or rehearsal dinner bill.

Everyone says time passes too quickly, and it most certainly does. Live in the now, enjoy them while you can.

Samantha Stroube-Daviss is a local columnist based in Corsicana. She may be reached by e-mail at columnwriter98@hotmail.com. Following Samanthaís blog at http://samantha-daviss.blogspot.com and on Twitter at @SamanthaDaviss1.