Over 15 years ago, my granddaughter’s other grandma ‘Mimi’ (Christy Roeder, and one of my dearest friends) told me she loved coming across what she called “Audrie trails” after little girl visited. These Audrie trails might be her handprints on a window or glass door, or rocks arranged in the garden, or other reminders that her granddaughter had visited.
I loved Christy’s perspective on what some grandmas might consider a mess or things out of place an inconvenience, but for her these ‘trails’ were moments of joy and often delightful surprises for her. When my friend Yvonne recently posted this photo of her antique sewing machine laden with a matchbox car necklace, courtesy of her 3-year-old grandson Maverick, it made me remember Audrie trails. I texted the photo to Christy without an explanation, and she responded, “I’m sensing Audrie trails,” even though we hadn’t talked about the subject in years.
Christy said she took pictures of Audrie’s little handprints on the glass and other Audrie trails, but said that was 2 computers ago. That’s a disadvantage to not be able to virtually find our photos on old technology. I’m also trying to find my oldest pictures from my older two computers. That would probably be a good business for someone to recover and save photos from older computers to flash drives for people who can’t get into their older pcs and laptops. What a great service that would be.
Lynda Zenner said, “This [kids' trails] reminded me of when Bethany [her oldest grandchild] was little. I had one of those woodpecker toothpick holders and she loved playing with it. After they left I would find toothpicks all over the house.”
I came across these grandkid 'trails' often, like many of you could say, but unfortunately, I didn’t take photos of most of them. Here are some of the ‘kids’ trails’ photos and stories I gathered from my files and others'.
My youngest grandson August loves making signs. I found this sign in the backyard after one of his visits. Somebody had to warn those pesky squirrels to stay away from the birds' stash.
A Maverick Trail
Yvonne Oude-Reimerink's Grandson
An August Trail
A 4-Year-Old Foster Grand Trail - The Angel Choir
Jon & Debby Gregory
Debby collects angels, and their foster grand gathered these from around the house and arranged them with the birdhouse church when she visited. Jon said they’ve left them there because they bring a smile to their faces every time they pass by.
A Granddaughter Nature Trail
Kathleen's granddaughter knew she missed living in the country, so she made this to remind her grandmother of nature and the country.
Charlie & Luke’s ‘Electronic Trails’
Jim & Julie Schaferling
These days, 'trails' can be electronic, too, as seen here with the Schaferling boys having fun with their home's Ring security camera
An August & Finn Trail
My grandsons picked up all of the toys on the floor before they left, but they missed this Altoids fort on my mother’s desk, which made me laugh.
An Armory Trail
I can't tell you how many times I chunked sticks, I mean, rifles & swords off the front porch after the grandsons visited But I kind of miss seeing them now.
Donna Van Cleve
A Camp Shakamalaka Cousins Trail
A few weeks after my mother passed, my niece Jenna Watson created a ‘cousins camp’ at her parents’ lake house for the young cousins in our family. My dad and I were in charge of providing crafts for the kids, and making and painting these sailboats was one of the crafts. The beached sailboats made a sweet memory trail of a time that helped us with the healing process of losing Mom.
Two of my favorite stories about my nephew RJ when he was young happened when my sister Joy fell asleep and RJ didn’t. She awoke to find down feathers emptied from a pillow and arranged beautifully around her head. Another time Joy found her washroom full of snow. Actually it was Tide detergent that RJ and his visiting cousin decided to pour all over the floor. I’m sure 'delight' wasn’t the emotion that emerged when she saw those trails. Ha.
A Maggie Trail
When we had a reunion at my sister Joy's lake house, my cousin's young granddaughter hauled a bunch of sand up from the lakeshore to create this sculpture. They kept it on the rock wall for the longest until the rain finally washed it away.
Audrie is 19 now and attending the University of Texas at Austin. She’s always been a rock hound and critter connoisseur. In her classes in elementary, high school, and even college, she is the one that others asked to rescue lizards, birds, frogs, bugs, spiders, and other critters. She is fearless that way.
Audrie today. She & her mom were playing around in Target... again. And still making trails worth remembering.
Audrie photos by Vanessa Roeder