Monday afternoon at 4:00, while Ava was still in daycare, I met Jessica and Elise at a doctor’s office near our house for arguably the most important day of the pregnancy other than the day of delivery: the ultrasound appointment where we learn the baby’s gender. We’ve been looking forward to this day for quite a while and, as expected, it turned out to be quite exciting. As I’ve been saying all along, all I’m hoping for is a healthy baby and a healthy wife, and so far we are right on track with both of those requirements. Although Jessica is still dealing with some pregnancy-induced sickness, she has shown some improvement over the past couple weeks, and the baby is right on track.
I was running a bit late due to traffic but arrived just in time for the big news, which is when they announce the baby’s gender. The technician’s exact words were “I think it’s a boy.” After a long pause I asked her how sure she was about that announcement, and she said “Well, I never tell anyone that I’m 100% sure, but let me take a closer look.” Upon further inspection she said she was quite sure it’s a boy, and proceeded to point out his parts, which was good enough for us. I think I was slightly in shock because I didn’t say a word for several minutes. Of course Jessica cried, which is par for the course in this type of scenario, but I just stood there holding Elise and took it all in.
I didn’t want to say anything publicly until we found out what we were having, but I had a dream about 3 weeks ago that we were having a boy. I never had a dream like this with either of our first two pregnancies, but the dream I had was so vivid and clear that I felt nearly positive from the moment I woke up the following morning that we were having a boy. Obviously I wouldn’t have been the least bit upset to have another girl, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t extremely excited about having a son. Growing up, family members on my Dad’s side always told me that if I didn’t have a son, the family name would end with me. Overall I think the Pellegrini name, which is the most common name in Italy, will be fine regardless of the outcome of this pregnancy, but I’m thrilled to keep our little branch growing on for future generations.
Now that we know the sex of the baby we can move onto his name, which has been decided since before Ava was born. Before I get to the name, however, I need to share a couple of stories from my youth, which will make the reasoning behind the name much clearer. When my Mom was pregnant with me they didn’t have the kind of technology they have now, meaning they didn’t know whether they were having a boy or a girl. My Mom knew though. She knew in her heart and in her gut that she was having a boy, and she wanted to give him a really cool and unique name. She was basically settled on naming me either Giovani or Giancarlo, but my Dad, who was much older than her and from a different generation, had other ideas. Both of my Dad’s parents were born in Italy, and they both made that long journey across the Atlantic ocean to the United States in search of a better life. They both passed through Ellis Island in New York and both ended up in Aberdeen, WA. At that time, having an ethnic sounding name meant that you would often experience disadvantages in America, so it was a common practice for families just arriving in America to change their name to something more ‘American sounding.’
Based on that logic, and the realities of life during my Dad’s youth, which was the Prohibition era, he vetoed my Mom’s ideas of naming me Giovani or Giancarlo. So, as cool as it would have been to have a name like that, I understand and respect his reasoning behind that decision. Ultimately he didn’t want his son to face any disadvantages in life due to his ethnicity. What he didn’t realize is that in this day and age those types of disadvantages are all but extinct, but there was no way he could have known that and I don’t blame him one bit. My paternal Grandfather’s name was Modesto, but in America everyone called him Mike; because of this they decided to give my Dad the middle name of Michael. In order to keep that name alive, they decided to name me Michael as well, and to this day that’s why I go by Michael instead of Mike.
Here’s the other story, albeit a bit more concise: when I was a child, my Dad always used to tell me “If you ever have a son, don’t try to honor me by naming him Elmer. Don’t make him go through life with a name like that.” To hear the story about why he was given the name Elmer, read this post. I always promised him that I would honor his wishes, and I’m certainly not going to back out on my promise now, but he never made me promise not to give my son the same initials (‘EMP’) as him, so that is exactly what we intend to do.
When Jessica was pregnant with Ava, before we knew whether we were having a boy or girl, we spent a lot of time thinking about names. Jessica came up with the name Ava Simone Pellegrini, partly because it would mean that she would have the same initials (‘ASP’) that her Mom had when she was born. I liked the name and gave it a thumbs up. For a boy’s name, Jessica said she liked the name Enzo, and immediately I thought about the story of my Mom wanting to give me an Italian first name, but my Dad saying no. I also liked it because it started with the letter E, just like my Dad. Giving him Michael as a middle name also made perfect sense because it kept the family name alive for another generation, and it gives him the same initials as my Dad, all without breaking my promise not to name him Elmer. From that moment on Jessica and I agreed that if we ever had a son, his name would be Enzo Michael Pellegrini.
Not to get too sentimental, but something as simple as this means a lot to me because it keeps my Dad’s memory alive. For my own selfish reasons I would love to have him back so that I could spend time with him, even if just for one day, but nothing would be better than to see him with all of his grandchildren. He only got to meet Dana’s son Kallan, his first grandchild, and the image of him holding Kallan and talking to him is something that will forever be etched in my mind. He died a month later, and part of me thinks he held on just long enough to be able to hold his first grandson in his arms and tell him he loves him. I know nothing would make him happier than to see all the beautiful children Lora, Dana and I have had in the years since his passing, and I’m so glad that one of them will be carrying on the ‘EMP’ torch. Guess I know who will be receiving all of his various ‘EMP’ engraved lighters, money clips, and other memorabilia.
With a name like Enzo Pellegrini it seems like there are only two possible professions: race car driver, or soccer player. Guess we’ll have to wait and see. In all honesty, we weren’t planning on having a third child. We couldn’t have been happier or more in love with Ava and Elise, and our plan was to quit while we were ahead, but that’s not exactly how life works. Looking at our situation now I have to believe that having a third child, and a first son, was meant to be. After all, my Dad had two girls and then a boy, so why not me as well?
We were thrilled to pass along the good news to the entire family, and they all seemed equally as thrilled to receive it. I’m sure the Grandma’s are already out shopping for little boy’s clothing. Obviously we’re not home free yet; there’s still that little delivery part to get through, as well as about 4 more months of pregnancy for Jessica to endure, but as far as I’m concerned February can’t come soon enough. Did I mention my Dad was born in February? I keep wondering when this string of luck and good fortune for our family is going to wear off, but as it stands we couldn’t be in a better place. We have two little girls that we love more than life itself, and can’t wait to extend that love to our baby boy Enzo.