A man made a tear-jerking video about all the unopened voicemails from his mom.
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Mothers Everywhere

Charles Frank grew up thinking his family didn't record any home videos.

Then one day, his mom called and mentioned her frustrations in transferring the old family footage to a hard drive.

"Wait," Charles recalled saying into the phone, baffled. "What home videos?"


Charles, in one of his family's home videos. GIF via "My Baby You'll Be."

About 20 hours of family memories — the day Charles learned how to "pump kick" on the swings, an adorable rendition of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," and so many others — had been packed away without his knowing.

Charles, now a Brooklyn-based filmmaker, was anxious to see the footage. So he offered to do the digital transferring himself.

"I watched every clip, end to end," he said. "I cried, I laughed, and then I wondered, what happened? Why aren't we as connected as we used to be?"

Charles, in one of his family's home videos. GIF via "My Baby You'll Be."

Looking for answers, Charles turned to another unlikely source: his phone.

More specifically, to the 38 unopened voicemails that were hiding there.

Charles wanted to use them as a means to try to understand how and why his family ties had changed over time. Because, although there hadn't been any sort of falling out and he loved his family very much, he still felt a certain disconnect.

Many of the voicemails he unearthed were from his mom, Dawn Evans.

As Charles learned, most of the time she was just checking in on simple, day-to-day stuff, like her attempt to buy him the perfect shirt.

“Hi, Charles. It’s Mom. I want you to know I tried to buy you a shirt today, and I spent probably a good 40 minutes ... The thing is, I find a shirt and I like the color, but then it was too big or too wide or too bright or too whatever. And I never found the right shirt. Just wanted to let you know that, OK? Love you. Bye."

Or that special recipe she knew he'd enjoy.

"Hello, dear one. This is your mother. I’m calling to see how today went and say hi. Nothing important. I was just thinking about you — I’m cooking, and I was thinking how much you would like this recipe. It’s butternut risotto. Bye."

And, like many moms of busy 21-year-olds, Dawn understood that sometimes life gets in the way.

“Hi, it’s Mom calling, Charles. The fact that it went straight to voicemail tells me that you’re very busy, so I guess I won’t bother you. Say hi to Nico.”

"At first, it was kind of funny," Frank said. "I clicked three voicemails in a row where my mom said the exact same, 'Hi, Charles. It's Mom!'"

But soon his laughs made way for mixed feelings of guilt and gratitude.

"As I dove deeper and deeper in my inbox, I felt more and more humbled," Charles says. His mother's curiosity and selfless spirit struck a chord.

The 38 voicemails and 20 hours of home videos inspired Charles to create a short film, "My Baby You'll Be."

The film, which you can watch below, is narrated by the real voicemails Charles' mother left on his phone and features footage of both Charles' present-day life and the home video memories of his youth.

It definitely tugs at the heartstrings of anyone who's realized they've failed to reciprocate the same care given to them by a loving parent.

"Part of my hope is that an audience could watch this and reflect on their own relationship with their mother," Charles said, hoping that the film serves as a reminder not to overlook the gift of unconditional love.

Photo courtesy of Dawn Evans, used with permission.

"By the end of the film, it was a Kleenex moment for me," Dawn told Upworthy of the first time watching her son's film. "Tears won out."

Although the film shows a young man who seems to have taken his mother's love for granted, Dawn said the man on-screen doesn't reflect the Charles she knows.

"I carry with me the certainty that if I called Charles and said I needed help, he would be here as fast as car, ferry, or boat could deliver him. That is a wonderful gift."

If there's one thing Charles knows, it's that he will never forget the lessons he learned from his mom.

He remembers one time, when he was bent out of shape over where a relationship was headed, his mom gave him excellent advice about letting go of the ones you love because, if the feelings are mutual, they'll return when the time is right.

In making the film and working through the feelings of guilt he had about distancing himself from his mom, her advice began to take on a new meaning.

"I'm realizing that philosophy doesn't just pertain to romantic relationships," Frank said. "Friendships and family work the same way. I am so grateful that my mother let me go, and I hope that she sees this film as a step toward my return."

Photo courtesy of Dawn Evans, used with permission.

Watch Frank's short film, "My Baby You'll Be," below:

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

Images via Canva and Unsplash

If there's one thing that everyone can agree on, it's that being in a pandemic sucks.

However, we seem to be on different pages as to what sucks most about it. Many of us are struggling with being separated from our friends and loved ones for so long. Some of us have lost friends and family to the virus, while others are dealing with ongoing health effects of their own illness. Millions are struggling with job loss and financial stress due to businesses being closed. Parents are drowning, dealing with their kids' online schooling and lack of in-person social interactions on top of their own work logistics. Most of us hate wearing masks (even if we do so diligently), and the vast majority of us are just tired of having to think about and deal with everything the pandemic entails.

Much has been made of the mental health impact of the pandemic, which is a good thing. We need to have more open conversations about mental health in general, and with everything so upside down, it's more important now than ever. However, it feels like pandemic mental health conversations have been dominated by people who want to justify anti-lockdown arguments. "We can't let the cure be worse than the disease," people say. Kids' mental health is cited as a reason to open schools, the mental health challenges of financial despair as a reason to keep businesses open, and the mental health impact of social isolation as a reason to ditch social distancing measures.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

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When Maryland Representative Jamie Raskin and his wife, Sarah Bloom, announced the death of their 25-year-old son Tommy on New Year's Eve, the whole nation mourned with them. Many also quietly wondered what had caused his death. It's not anyone's business, of course. But when a young, seemingly healthy person dies unexpectedly at home, the question lingers.

Rep. Raskin provided an honest answer to that question in a way that is both heartbreaking and perfect. In a statement published on Medium, Raskin and Bloom shared the details of Tommy's life so beautifully, it makes anyone who reads it feel like we knew him. It also exemplifies how to talk about a loved one who is taken by mental illness.

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via Budweiser

Budweiser beer, and its low-calorie counterpart, Bud Light, have created some of the most memorable Super Bowl commercials of the past 37 years.

There were the Clydesdales playing football and the poor lost puppy who found its way home because of the helpful horses. Then there were the funny frogs who repeated the brand name, "Bud," "Weis," "Er."

We can't forget the "Wassup?!" ad that premiered in December 1999, spawning the most obnoxious catchphrase of the new millennium.

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