In 1944, a handsome young man bravely headed off to join the United States Army in fighting for world freedom in World War II. He left behind a growing family with a brand new baby. This precious baby would eventually grow up to become the magnificent woman who is my mother.
One of our family’s (the B, J & A-M Trotter’s) favorite stories comes from Grandma as she tells us that my mom was probably cuddled more, held tighter, and prayed over more as a baby than any of the other children in the Rehfeldt family. With her husband away in the midst of WWII gunfire, my grandmother didn’t know if she would ever see him again. So, she held tight to her baby, my mom, not knowing if this baby would be her last.
Thankfully, my grandfather returned from war safely, and my grandmother went on to have more children – bringing the number up to 12!
My mother grew up in a house without indoor plumbing. She was a tomboy who loved to play sports and was often out late and had to be called back in for dinner. I can almost see her rounding those bases, her brown braids flying out behind her.
A family legend tells the story of how my mom would always leave right after dinner to go play baseball and would constantly miss her turn to do dishes. This legend is NOT true, my mother assures me, “I did plenty of dishes, believe you me,” she often says.
She had a lot of friends who loved the outdoors as much as she did. There was one person she wasn’t as fond of – “Whenever we’d see Carol (my Aunt Carol), I’d tell everyone to hide, so she wouldn’t come play with us!” She tells me, blushing.
Mom came to know the Lord at a young age and was the first convert of a new “young” pastor, Pastor Melvin Swanson, of Berean Baptist Church. She dedicated her life from then on to serving the Lord.
When she was college-age, she headed off to Moody Bible Institute where she met and married my dad, Robert Trotter. She and Dad lived in Chicago for a number of years before moving back to Rockford.
Mom agonized over the fact that she and Dad couldn’t have children. They tried for eleven years with no results. As her friends and her sisters had baby after baby, Mom’s heart was broken for a child of her own. When my dad said “no” to adoption, my mom says she looked out her kitchen window and said, “You know what that means, Lord. You are my only option.”
A little while later, after a visit to the doctor for what mom thought was the flu, she received the good news that she was pregnant with me! Mom and Dad welcomed me with their amazing brand of godly, parental love that I have come to be in awe of, even today.
Five years later, Mom and Dad suffered through a terrible emotional and physical miscarriage. My little brother or sister resides in heaven. Now with our dad.
Mom and Dad provided a wonderful home and haven for their daughter. I grew up amidst Mom’s love of popcorn, Murder She Wrote, cross-stitching, and decorating.
Mom worked various jobs – daycare teacher, retail sales. Her main job was not strangling me to death when I was a mouthy thirteen years old with a sarcastic wit.
She saw me through high school and college. Just as she and Dad were settling down to become “empty nesters,” the Lord took Dad home to Heaven. That is when I learned what my mom was made of.
They were horrible years, emotionally punishing and rip-your-heart-out painful. But, my mom. Oh, my mom. I’d hear her crying at night. We cried together. And still she clung to the Lord. He was her comfort. Her strength. Her refuge. I learned what a Christian is, what a Christian should be, as I watched my mom go through the trial of Dad’s death.
It is a shadow that will never fade. A reminder of what God can do.
After three years, Mom met a godly bachelor, Gary. After a courtship (that was TOO cute to see!), they were married. She and Gary now live ten minutes from us.
Mom is undoubtedly my best friend. I hope that’s the best compliment I can pay her, since I’m starting to cry even as I type this. There aren’t enough beautiful words to describe how I love my mom.
So, a short history of her amazing life thus far, and three words to the woman I love more any other – Happy Birthday, Mom!