This baby I'm about to birth is named Nicola Anatoli Harmon. Certainly not the most unusual name out there, but it definitely isn't common. Anatoli has no particular significance other than Rob and I like it. But Nicola has meaning behind it.
First, Rob idolizes Nikola Tesla. But that just happened to be more of a happy coincidence.
The real namesake is Nicola Lucci.
Here's the story... (and this is from my memory; so Rob, if I get stuff wrong I'm really sorry. Please correct me)
For those who don't know, Rob was in the Air Force. This was before I met him (and it's a good thing we didn't know each other then 'cause I was really young and not so attractive...), he joined when he was 19, had his basic training, then his schooling, and then was stationed in Italy for four years.
From what I've surmised, those four years involved a lot of change and growing up for Rob. Lots of good stuff (like the food and culture), but also some tough stuff. And at a time when Rob was sort of down and perhaps even struggling, he met this guy and his wife at a motorcycle rally. And became friends. That guy was Nicola.
Nick, his wife Alessia, and their family pretty much adopted Rob. He talks about the amazing food Nick's mother (or grandmother?) would make, the fun they had riding their motorcycles around Europe, the cool places they saw. How awesome Nick's house is (he's an architect). And I know their friendship made a difference in Rob's life. Meeting them was a turning point in who he was as a person, and I honestly believe they were a huge force for good in his life.
So for me, despite having never met them but only hearing about them from Rob, I've always known that they will always be a part of our life. We're not so good at keeping in touch with each other these days, sporadic postcards are about the extent of it. (But we dream about the day we'll be able to go back to Italy, and you better believe they will be the first thing we see when we get there:) ) I have no memory of us deciding we would name one of our children Nicola. We've just always known that we would have a Nicola.
And this child, this Nicola, I already know is going to be that same goodness in our family. I don't know how yet (I'm secretly hoping it means he'll be an easy, chill baby), but I can feel his goodness already, without even having held him or looked into his eyes. We just knew immediately that he was supposed to be our Nicola.