Amid the coronavirus pandemic and quarantine, Evan Tewel, general manager of the Davenport Grand restaurants downtown, experienced some good news: His son, Peter, was born at Spokane Valley Hospital on May 2, making Tewel a father for the second time.
Tewel, 34, said Wednesday afternoon that the second birth for him and his wife, who wed on Oct. 13, 2018, and have been together a total of seven years after meeting in the hospitality industry, was seamless. (Tewel’s wife requested that her name not be used in this story due to her profession and privacy concerns.)
“It was an easy birth from a health perspective,” said Tewel, who was born and raised in north Spokane. “Peter was born on May 2 at 10:20 p.m. He was induced, 7 pounds 1 ounce and 19 inches long. He was born at the Spokane Valley Hospital. It was the right choice for us because the maternity ward there is very, very good.”
When Tewel’s first son, Graesen Probst-Tewel, was born 10 years ago, the hospitality industry did not offer parental leave to new parents at the time, Tewel said, and it was not financially practical for him to take time off. Things are different the second time around.
“The leave itself, the ability to be with family, it is something I never dreamed could be possible. It has been a blessing to be at home and forming these bonds with my new son and family,” Tewel said. “It has been very special, but it also has been a challenging time for everyone with the pandemic.
“Being away from work is difficult, too, when there is so much changing at the restaurants and the way we do business in and adapting to this new reality. It’s nerve-wracking not to be as available or as much of a part of that as I could be. It’s strange to be out while there is so much going on, but, at the same time, there is so little business in the time I’ve been out. It’s a weird mix.”
How was the recent birth for Tewel during the pandemic?
“Honestly, Peter was a pretty uneventful birth, but there were certainly differences with the coronavirus. Everything was pretty much closed down, so we had to enter through the ER, which was a little weird.
“My wife had a coronavirus swab beforehand so that everyone there knew what they were working with, and they took my temperature to ensure that I didn’t have any active symptoms. We stayed in our area, and there was a lot less moving around.
“There wasn’t any family in the hospital like there was with Graesen. We definitely missed having our moms and dads and grandparents and siblings around to celebrate the birth with us in the hospital.”
It has been only six weeks, but Tewel is enjoying becoming a father again, and one of the main reasons is because his family is growing and becoming stronger and more connected.
“Seeing my wife so readily stepping into the role of mother – she is a fierce protector but also a nurturer – has made us closer, and it is pretty magical. Seeing Peter’s personality develop, learning his likes and dislikes and quirks so early on, is a really wonderful thing, as has watching Graesen interact, learn and love and hold and be helpful with his little brother.”
One of Tewel’s challenges of being a new dad is a familiar one for many parents, while another obstacle is of this time.
“As far as the baby goes, the outside world notwithstanding, the baby has been great, but he doesn’t have a sleep schedule yet. He is keeping his mom and me very much on our toes. She and I are sleeping in shifts when one of us is worn out.
“Not having the family around during this isolation and quarantine, it is not the same support as the first time. We also must think about if and how we should go to the grocery store. We’re traveling a lot less, if at all, and not seeing a lot of friends and family as we normally would be doing at a time with a new kid.”
Before the pandemic and Peter’s birth, the Davenport Grand was keeping Tewel busy, and he was riding high at work.
“We had our highest-revenue year for any of our company’s restaurants at the Downtown Grand restaurants. It was a benchmark, and it was exciting for us and the management team,” Tewel said.
“It was all a whirlwind, and the igloos were something Spokane really embraced and ushered in a strong new year, which now seems like a decade ago. It was a ton of energy and momentum, and we engaged a local crowd. It was a very, very good success.
“Then the pandemic hit, and we had to pause the igloos, dial everything back and take care of people as much as we possibly could. We did our best to help everyone on our hospitality team who relies on us.”
Tewel is ready to return to work in person at the Davenport Grand when the time comes.
“I am really looking forward to the opportunity for us to bring everything back up to that tempo and atmosphere and vitality that we started last year and engage the community and bring business to the downtown core,” Tewel said.
Leading up to Father’s Day weekend, the Tewels, who live on the South Hill, had a small celebration with family on Wednesday and Graesen’s elementary school graduation party on Thursday – and, weather permitting, planned a barbecue this weekend.
“It would be a round of golf, normally – Graesen is an avid golfer, as am I – but, for the time being, it will be a nice, quiet day with steaks and good family time. Maybe a round of croquet. Nothing too wild!”
Tewel summed up, “I’ve a pretty career-driven guy, but I’m OK with being home and away from work. I am nervous about it, but I also am very happy with my family and being so involved with them.”
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