Jack & Michele Evans Modern Family
On Mother’s Day––coming up May 13––you get images in your head.
Donna Reed unruffled. Soccer moms relieving the family SUV of soccer kids, soccer balls, soccer goals and soccer dogs. The beloved Irish mom: “Me mother was a saint, don’t you know.” The mom in “Leave It to Beaver.” These days, there are single moms, working moms, political moms, first lady moms and first lady moms-in-waiting.
Maybe we shouldn’t call it Mother’s Day at all. Or Father’s Day. Maybe we should call it kid’s day. Or the family dog day.
Maybe we should just have a family day. America needs another quasi-holiday anyway. And what better place to start with a family day than the household of Jack and Michele Evans. It’s got all the ingredients.
Mom: check. Michele Seiver Evans. Dad: check. Jack Evans. Kids: check. Sam Seiver, 22; Madeline Seiver, 19; Jack Seiver, 19. Kids: check again. Katharine, John and Christine Evans, 15. Dog: check. Golden Retriever Kelly.
Now, put the ingredients, once separate, together by marriage. Then, only a short time after the September 2010 wedding, begin a major renovation of the Evans home at 3141 P Street, then put it on the 2012 Georgetown House Tour, just for good measure.
“Jack stayed, and the kids stayed upstairs during construction,” Michele Evans said. “I rented a town house. So, actually, we haven’t been together as a family until late last year, right around Thanksgiving.”
“Lots of people have made the obvious references to ‘The Brady Bunch,’ ” she said, as she led the way into the downstairs part of the house, where she’s created a picture board of photographs of all of the new family’s children, 15-year-old triplets Katharine, John and Christine Evans and Michele’s children, Sam, Maddy and Jack. Friends have compared her to the Brady mom. She laughed. “I think sometimes I feel more like Alice, the housekeeper.”
She certainly doesn’t look or act like Alice. Vivacious, creative, an interior designer by profession and inclination, she designed the major part of the Evans homestead renovation, which opened up the first floor living room, creating the illusion of a larger space by creating a flow that connects to the outdoor patio, and gracefully furnished in a style that merges tradition with contemporary motifs smoothly into the outdoor patio.
“Didn’t have a thing to do with it,” said Jack Evans, arriving in a dark suit from his District Council work late on a Friday morning. “It’s all Michele.”
Evans had been a single dad for seven years, and Michele (then Michele Seiver) had been a single mom for six years. The two married September 18, 2010, after dating for two years.
Evans, by looks, reputation, demeanor and profession, seems a man least likely to embrace drama--the Ward 2 councilman and longest continuous member of the District Council looks like the master of the budget that he is, a little buttoned down and serious expert. But he can fool you: he mastered the shaky and sometimes emotional art of raising triplets in his own way after the death of his first wife, Noel. His office is something of a man cave, full of not only the usual politician’s photographs with other elected officials, presidents, family and momentous occasions, but sports stuff, actual fussball games and Redskins, Caps and Nationals memorabilia and signs. Recently, Evans was on the stage at the Helen Hayes Awards, praising the D.C. theater scene with eloquence, embracing the spotlight when it hit him like a thespian.
Still, marrying and merging two families and renovating your house is inviting drama into your life. But it appears to be drama of the enlivening, good sort, as opposed to chaos.
“Perhaps, it wasn’t the easiest way of doing things,” Michele Evans said. “We married in September 2010, and a week later, the renovation started.”
“The most difficult thing is the merging of the families,” Michele Evans said. “You have to negotiate, compromise, and you can’t really actually bring everything you have together. You have to figure out what to do with six sets of skies, for instance, and your schedules have just sort of doubled. He and I have different ways of parenting out of each of our particular situations. I was pretty lucky in one sense: my children are spaced apart -- there’s the oldest, the middle child and the youngest. With triplets, it’s all at once, which presents different challenges, different joys and requirements. I can just imagine how hectic things could get for Jack, doing everything as a single dad.”
What he did, for instance, was to organize laundry bags: all the socks in one bag, t-shirts and underwear in another, and so forth. “That wouldn’t have worked for me, but I could see it was necessary for them.”
“You learn a lot about each other in that first year,” Jack Evans said. “When you’re a single dad, you have to be organized like that. It can’t be done any other way, for me.”
Michele Evans laughed, remembering the first Thanksgiving the two families shared.
“I had prepared a whole meal based on a family recipe, very elaborate, gourmet, complicated,” she said. “They were used to and quite happy with cranberry sauce, out of a can.”
“With my children, the triplets had a chance to deal with older sisters and brothers,” she added. “I think in some ways that’s my role with the girls, too, I’m more like an older sister in addition to being a mother to them.”
“I think Jack approached being a single dad by creating a sense of order, which is necessary, and I think I bring a little more color and creativity to things. “ she said.
She was merging her life and family not only with another family but with the family of an elected official, a politician and a public figure.
“That was different,” she said. “I’m a naturally friendly person, I think, outgoing. But being in the public eye, you have to be a little more careful with what you say.”
“I think the kids know that,” the father and council member said. “It’s just something you learn. It’s like ‘your dad’s on tv, or they hear somebody say something that’s not particularly flattering or it’s critical, they hear and read things. I just tell them--think before you say something to someone.”
Evans’s political resume--re-elections to his Ward 2 council seat almost as a matter of course, a failed, but nonetheless very classy and professionally managed run for mayor--is thick with experience, and hardly complete. In other words, the obvious question comes up: does he still want to be Mayor of Washington, D.C.?
“Absolutely,” he says, emphatically. “I think the prospects for success are better these days than they were then, and if the occasion arises where I think I have a good chance, I’ll run.”
As a leader on the city council and a Georgetown resident, his profile is already high throughout the city and among his neighbors. If he chooses to run at some point in the future, he’d be running as the head of one family, once two separate families, the father who knows, if not best, certainly a lot about raising a family, and about being a parent. And he’ll present a richer, more complete and complicated persona and identity to the public, something larger than his identity as the government’s and council’s most experienced leader. He is also the man who can take a large part of the credit for leading the way in transforming downtown Washington and for bringing baseball to Washington, among numerous accomplishments.
The newly constituted Evans family almost didn’t happen. “I asked her out twice,” Evans said. “And she said no.”
The third time, as it turned out, was the charm. “We ran into each other at a party, and I started to go out the door and I turned around and I thought, if I don’t try again, it’s never going to happen.” He did and she said yes. The first date? “He took me to a Nationals game,” she said. “I loved it.” Less conventional was a date in which Evans took his future wife on a drive-by tour of African-American churches in Ward 2.
Michele Evans grew up in Wyoming and came to Washington to work in the office of then Sen. Malcolm Wallop (R-Wyo.). Before merging her family of three children--Sam Seiver 22, now living in Santa Ana, Calif., Madeline Seiver, 19, now at the University of South Carolina, and Jack Seiver, 16, a junior at Gonzaga College High School--lived in Spring Valley.
“Being a single parent -- and we both know this for a fact -- is hard work, period. It doesn’t matter who you are,” Jack Evans said. “If you’re a stay-at-home parent, it’s hard work. If you’re a single parent and working, it’s hard work. We both know that for a fact and from experience.”
Jack Evans’ wardrobe provided by Streets of Georgetown: Shirt: Hart Schaffner Marx blue gingham shirt - $89.50 Tie: Hickey Freeman navy pin dot bold strip - $135 Pants: Hickey Freeman bone color 100% pima cotton chino - $245 Gray Suit: Hickey Freeman peak lapel grey prince of wales plaid suit $1495
Shirt: Hart Schaffner Marx Blue Gingham Shirt - $89.50 Tie: Hickey Freeman navy pin dot bold strip - $135 Pants: Hickey Freeman bone color 100% pima cotton chino - $245