Besides just liking the name, Betty is the name of my paternal grandmother. She is one of the most sweet and generous women I know, and I when I think of her, I think of so many lovely qualities that I strive for and hope my girls will too. Grandma Betty was perhaps a little naive and certainly quite young when she married my grandpa, but I'm pretty sure she created a really wonderful life for her family. From the stories my dad tells of growing up I know that she was a great mother. Likely the kind of mother who had a homemade dinner on the table at the same hour every night. A mother who spent the better part of the first two years of her life as a new mom alone while her husband was at war. A mother who, because of her husband's career on the railroad, spent a lot of time parenting on her children alone while her husband maintained an unpredictable work schedule.
Grandma Betty has more posterity than I can keep track of, but birthday cards with sweet handwritten messages arrive for children, grandchildren, grandchildren-in-law, and great-grandchildren each and every year. And never a day late. As she has grown older, my sweet grandma, like most elderly people, deals with a lot of pain. But you would never know it - she doesn't complain or talk about herself or the struggles she faces unless someone else brings it up. Grandma is always thinking of others, keeping busy with thoughtful projects for friends and family, and selflessly offering her assistance to anyone she can help. Perhaps the greatest demonstration of her selfless service was when she cared for her husband during the last years of his life, providing for his every need with care and love.
We chose the name Florence for Betty's middle name for a few reasons. When I was pretty young, I had a really strong desire to go to Florence, Italy. I'm sure it was a book or movie that inspired my dreaming, but it held such a strong appeal. When I took AP Art History in tenth grade, I became more aware of the city's architectural marvels and beauty. Finally, at age 20 I made it to Florence while studying art history with a group from BYU. It really was a dream come true. Florence is one of my favorite European cities, the birthplace of the Renaissance, and means flourishing, prosperous. Plus, Florence Nightingale was the founder of modern nursing (my "if I could do my life over again" profession of choice). Who knows, maybe the association will inspire Betty to become a nurse!