Article : Northwest Indiana Times

More Mom Moments with Sharon Leming

By Carrie Steinweg

In my last column, I introduced you to Sharon Leming, a mom of nine from
Eastern Tennessee that I interviewed after watching her son, Josiah Leming
on American Idol.  He unfortunately didn’t make it to the final 24, but
the exposure he got on the show is leading to lots of interest and he will
likely be headed for big things, despite being cut from the show.
Being a fan of the show, I enjoyed hearing bits about “Joey” from his
mom that you didn’t learn on his few minutes of air time. On the show we
learned he was a high school drop out, living in his car without his
family’s knowledge.
He quit high school at 17 to go on the road to pursue music, but has since
received his GED. His mom said he was an excellent student who scored way
above average on his ACT’s – 30 on Math and 32 in English.  His talent
was apparent when the family got a keyboard one Christmas when Josiah was 8
years old.  Sharon had gotten up before the kids to take a bath and suddenly
heard “Joy to the World” being played.  Josiah had gotten out of bed
early to be the first to play it and breezed through learning songs.  She
said her oldest son is also musically inclined.
After he left school, he hit the road, spending a lot of time in Dallas.
His parents didn’t know he was living in his car, but learned about it
before the show aired.  Had she known, she said she probably would have been
on the road looking for him.  She mentioned how when he went to Atlanta for
the initial audition, someone came up to him while sitting in a McDonald’s
and took his computer from him and ran off.  The computer had all his master
songs that he’d written on it.  While on the road, he worked in
restaurants and did day labor, his mom pointed out.  “He’s a hard
worker,” she said.  “He used to mow every yard in the neighborhood.”
He also did school plays and summer productions.  “I always had a feeling
that some day the world would discover him and then I would have to share
him,” she said.
There was also another audition not shown on television in which he sang a
song he wrote called ”Bad News Baby,” which the judges liked.  And after
the cut, his mom said that Simon Cowell was nothing but positive and
encouraging to Josiah.
And in typical teenage fashion, he packed at the last minute before flying
out to tape the Ellen show, discovering on the way to the airport hat his
flight was leaving an hour earlier than he thought (but he did make it.)
As for mothering her large brood, she said that while the general belief
is that children in large families lack attention, she’s learned that
there is always a plenty of company in a large family.  “There’s always
someone that will do something with you,” she said.  “And we get off and
spend time with them in ones or twos.”
Leming said that she always wanted a dozen kids and she likes the
craziness and “constant motion” of a large family and that she hates
that her illness (she has Leiomyosarcoma, a rare form of incurable cancer)
has slowed her down.
She explained that the kids in her home go to bed in layers, which allows
her to spend quiet time with some of the kids.  “The youngest go to bed at
8, then the next set at 9, the older ones in high school at 10 and then the
two grown boys never go to sleep.”
While she’s proud of Josiah’s musical talent, she said that she wants
to support her kids, not nudge them.  She said she would have liked to have
seen Josiah go off to college, but she also believes that there’s nothing
wrong with taking time off to see the world while you’re young.
Of her nine children, six of them were adopted after taking them in as
foster children.  For each of them, she said it’s taken a long time to
integrate them into the family.  “They all have histories that make them
unique,” she said.
Since my last column ran, Sharon has returned from the hospital where she
unexpectedly went into a temporary coma.  She’s now coping with the after
effects of the chemo and updating her blog at
I loved a few of the lines she said during our conversation, like that her
parenting theory is that “all mysteries eventually solve themselves.”
If you have some patience and don’t panic, sometimes things do seem to
fall into place.  She also said, “I live today, today and tomorrow,
tomorrow.” Those are words we all should live by.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.  She can be reached

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  • Disclaimer

    This site is in no way shape or form affiliated with Josiah Leming. This is simply a fan site to show our dedication to the artist. All images, information etc. are credited and belong to their rightful owners.