This is an article that I had the honor and pleasure of having published in SHE Magazine….I hope my family is honored:)
Part of the Clan
You would never see my name on the MSN home page. I have never been to an awards show and not much comes up when you google my name… However, I am used to being stared at and stopped frequently by passersby with questions. You see, I am the third born of ten children. Yes, you heard right, I am one of ten. I am not 89, did not grow up in West Virginia – and yes, my parents did realize where children come from.
Due to the size of the Edmond clan we received quite a bit of attention. Not many people have such a large family these days, so people were always interested in our story and had lots of questions. We are a unique mix, especially now as we are almost all grown and displaying such individual personalities and gifts. There are three girls and seven boys among us, and we range in age from 15 to 42 years old. Technically my older brother and sister are my father’s children and my half-brother and sister, but my parent’s have been married since my half-siblings were 3 and 1 so they have always been around. I won’t bore you with the details but I truly could write another whole article about the amazing qualities and story behind each sibling.
Just for fun I thought I would give the sibling run down:
Kelly married to Richard, children are Caroline(married to Jonathan), Laura, Aubrey, Nathaniel, Kathryn, Evelyn, Grace and Jesse
Damon married to Kim, children are Jackson and Julia
Erika married to Mark, children are McCall, Haig and Eli
TJ engaged to Mary
Karl married to Stephanie, children are Taryn and Sean Patrick
Jeremiah married to Erin
Maura married to Ben, children are Reilley and Layla
Jacob, seriously dating Danielle
Marshall, college student
Ben, high school student
My parents met in Colorado and were as different as can be. They are truly the poster child for the “opposites attract” slogan. Mom was a good Catholic school girl from Detroit who loved to snow ski so she ended up at a small Catholic college in Colorado. She met my dad who was a tough, street-wise young man who had already been married and had two little ones to take care of. They seemed to bring out the best in each other and fell in love. Despite the odds and parental concerns, they started a life together. Neither ended up with a college degree, but they both had a superior work ethic, a lot of common sense, a deep desire to build a strong family and a whole lot of stubborn tenacity. They have had, and still deal with, the struggles that life brings. My dad is a recovering alcoholic. When I was six years old, there were four little Edmonds at that point, and my mom loved him enough to make him get help. In the midst of rehab my dad came face to face with The Father that he had never really experienced before. The Lord reached down and changed him from the inside out and began to heal a lot of wounds that the world and the enemy had inflicted on him.
My mom had surrendered her life to Christ years before when she was in a near fatal car accident that left her swimming for her life in the near freezing Colorado River. She told the Lord that if she survived she would live for Him. The Lord provided the miracle and Mom did her best to hold up her end of the deal, even in the midst of a rocky marriage. So my parents became true committed followers of our Saviour when I was six years old. I have seen them live out the struggles and joys of growing in the Lord. My parents did many, many things well as parents and one of them was truly living out the journey of their faith. They would share with us what they learned from Bible study, and they would admit when they were struggling or when they messed up. The reality of what a true walk with the Lord is, Him journeying with us, has been a tremendous gift to me.
My parents very openly taught us that children are a gift from the Lord, and they would gladly accept as many of them as the Lord blessed them with. This meant that money was very tight. We moved around a lot until I was in junior high as my parents learned to follow God’s voice and be obedient in all areas of their lives. As children, our faith in the Lord grew as we saw Him provide for our physical needs with unexpected checks arriving in the mail when the bank account was empty, bare cupboards being filled by grocery bags arriving on our doorstep anonymously, being blessed by civic groups at Christmas time and even surprise Santas leaving boxes of gifts on our porch Christmas morning. God was so good to us and our parents were faithful to give God the credit for being so faithful. They pointed us to Him continuously.
Family came first in the Edmond clan. Any free time they had, which was precious because they both worked hard and long hours, was spent as a family. We would go for long drives on Sunday afternoons. We had dinner together just about every night. One of my favorite memories is how we would spend free afternoons discovering new playgrounds. The whole family came to all our sporting events and tried to come to away games as much as possible. This was a big deal because we had a little minivan that was rigged up by my dad with three baby seats bolted to the back of the driver’s and passenger’s seats. It was the only way to make all the safety seats fit and allow everyone a seat belt. We certainly couldn’t afford a 15 passenger van, and at the time that was what worked. We all laugh today as we think of the things we did to make life as a large family work.
Do we all get along? Of course not. There are a lot of strong personalities among us, but no matter how we may disagree – we truly love each other. We have a strong desire to bring honor to the Edmond name and we were always taught that you don’t just represent the Edmonds, more importantly you represent Christ. Some of us are closer than others. As in most families the three girls try to keep communication open and as frequent as possible. Thank goodness for the internet, our individual blogs and email. The recent years have brought new, grown-up and very difficult struggles. We have experienced financial difficulties, outside betrayal, extreme health concerns and serious conflict as a result of these struggles. However, the Lord is good and our family remains intact. Part of growing up is learning how to love in, during and through conflict. The end result is that conflict has been the catalyst for growth and deeper relationships. We see God in the midst of the pain and the challenges.
Family get-togethers are less frequent due to our large numbers. We end up having weddings or a new baby about every two years. Six out of the ten of us are married and we already have 17 grandchildren among us. We are spread out geographically and call Georgia, Colorado, South Carolina and Canada home. I have one brother still in high school, two in college, one sister married to a pastor (they have 8 children and homeschool), another sister that is a stay-at-home mom and married a fellow from Pittsburgh, a brother that is a computer software designer, a brother that is the lead singer for the band The Beggar’s Guild, another brother that is studying toward his master’s in counseling in Canada and another brother that is the drummer for the band Manchester Orchestra. My oldest niece is actually four months older than my youngest sister. So it can be confusing when my 16 year-old nephew hangs out with his 15 year-old uncle. These are some of the fun dynamics of a large family.
As a mother I now have such a different perspective of what it means to have a large family. I have three small children and I cannot imagine more than tripling my work load. The responsibility my parents carried overwhelms me. Certainly no one is a perfect parent. The longer I am a parent the more grace I allow my parents in the hopes that my own children will someday give me grace. My parents taught me the depth of commitment, working hard and doing whatever it takes to get the job done, loving people unconditionally, never giving up on family and trusting the Lord. Being part of an unusually large family has taught me that everyone has to do his/her part, when you see something that needs to be done… just do it, be part of the solution not part of the problem, blood is truly thicker than water, it is not always just about me and love covers over a multitude of wrongs. I am so thankful for my parents, Leo and Midge Edmond, my siblings (Kelly, Damon, TJ, Karl, Jeremiah, Maura, Jacob, Marshall and Ben), my journey, and that no matter where I roam I will always be proud to be part of the Edmond clan.