“I think there’s so much value in friends. That’s one of the great things about Marietta — we all still live close. You have that community sense that these are your friends, even though you may not see them but a couple times a year. I’ve always told my girls that friends are very important, and they’re going to support you,” said Juanita Stedman, a judge of Cobb County Juvenile Court. She and her husband, Hugh, have two grown daughters, Molly Metz and Emily Stedman.
Stedman started the party after an experience with a mother who had appeared before her in family drug court. “The mother was doing well but panicked about something. It clicked with me that the people who supported me as I raised my kids were the mothers of my children’s friends. I am still friends with them,” Stedman said.
“When I had a crisis, it was those friends who brought me back down to earth. That’s when I started (the party). That experience with that mother brought it home,” she said.
“We’ve all had those moments, and we’ve all had those girlfriends we turn to,” Stedman said.
Stedman invites the mothers with whom she developed friendships because their children attended Hickory Hills Elementary, Marietta Middle School or Marietta High School together.
“We’re all friends because we all raised our kids together,” she said.
“We’ve seen each through our parents’ deaths, college graduations and weddings. That connection is very important and will be from now on,” Stedman said.
The party is an opportunity for friends to catch up with each other.
“We all enjoy each others’ company. We get to hear how each others’ children are doing,” she said.
“Every year when I send out the invitation, I get the same response, ‘I’m so glad you’re still doing this,’” Stedman said.