True
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:

Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

Keep Reading Show less

Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

Keep Reading Show less

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

Keep Reading Show less