EvaMarie. Teacher. Wife. Mother of four — a set of triplets and an “unexpected bonus baby,” that is! EvaMarie’s triplets (Sofia, Adam and Luke) are eleven years old now but were born prematurely, at 26 weeks. Adam spent 3 months in Neonatal Intensive Care, Sofia spent 4 ½ months and Luke spent 6 months. While Adam is a normal middle-schooler, Sofia and Luke both suffer from Cerebral Palsy and are permanently disabled. EvaMarie says, “my goal each day is to learn from them, because even little steps are big steps for them.” Sofia is considered “high-tone.” She is non-verbal and cannot walk, and her upper body is very stiff only allowing her good use of her right arm. She is able to use a motorized wheel chair and can crawl around the house. Luke, on the other hand, is considered “low tone.” He lacks muscle strength but uses a manual wheel chair, and is able to walk with assistance. He, too, is non-verbal but uses sign language for words like “please” and “thank you.” Luke scoots around the house — shutting all the doors and fixing the rugs! He also loves his iPad! Neither Sofia nor Luke can eat solid foods so even meal preparation is a challenge in EvaMarie’s day.
When her babies were in the NICU, EvaMarie stood over them day and night. She swore that if they survived, she would devote her life to them — and she has. It killed her when she had to go back to work, but she knew that she needed to help provide for them — and this, too, is a form of devotion. EvaMarie happens to be a special education teacher at Tabernacle Elementary in Tabernacle, New Jersey. EvaMarie prides herself on being the best she can be at everything she does. She doesn’t do anything for her students that she wouldn’t do for her own children, and she is an advocate for each one of them.
When she dreamed of being a mother, she never pictured that this would be her “motherhood.” In fact, she feels guilty for even having those feelings, and she felt like a “bad person” for thinking she wouldn’t be able to handle the cards she was dealt. But, everyone tells her that these beautiful children could not have gone to a better family. EvaMarie says, “My children are the reason I know faith, hope, love, and miracles are alive in my life.” EvaMarie believes that her job, as a mom, is to make each of her children independent. But independence looks different for each one. At times, she worries that she is not doing enough for Adam and her youngest daughter, Brooke. But she knows they are learning so much more than the average child because they have special needs siblings. They are very loving towards their brother and sister and are proud of even their smallest accomplishments. While Adam is enjoying Middle School, baseball and his friends, Sofia might be celebrated that day for choosing her own yogurt flavor. Just learning the word “bed” was a big step for Luke. And although EvaMarie has a lot of help from her “amazing” husband of 15 years, D.J., and other family members, just attempting to keep her hair dyed and trying not to live in sweatpants is challenging!
Thank goodness for Laurie Felt – Los Angeles! When EvaMarie first saw Laurie presenting her “premium denim” on QVC, she didn’t even know what premium denim was! But what she did know was that she could NOT bend down in the jeans she owned, so she took a chance and ordered Laurie’s silky ankle jeans. When they arrived, she was certain she wouldn’t fit in them, but she did the “shimmy,” and sure enough they fit! And, she immediately ordered the pedal pushers! She also LOVES Laurie’s tops because they are so soft and flowy — and the bell-sleeve blouses are “just her style!”
As for the Laurie Felt Silky Flare denim –EvaMarie gushes, “I got the medium blue in the flare jeans.They are super soft and extremely comfortable. I never have to adjust Laurie’s jeans once they’re on, they just move with me effortlessly. I am 5’3” so I was afraid a flare might overwhelm me. These are very flattering! It’s not a silhouette I’ve worn before, but I love it!
EvaMarie, we are so proud to have you as a Heartfelt Role Model. You are one strong mama and such a shining soul.