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Dad's incredible 5-minute time-lapse of his daughter's life took 20 years to create

Dutch filmmaker Frans Hofmeester filmed his daughter every week for 20 years.

Anyone who has raised kids knows the truth of the saying, "the days are long, but the years are short." Parenting when you're in the thick of it can feel neverending, but in hindsight, the time goes by too fast. Kids grow and change so constantly, it's hard to keep up. You blink and suddenly your baby becomes a toddler, your toddler becomes a kid, your kid becomes a teen and your teen becomes a full-fledged adult.

As time goes by, you try desperately to document it while also staying in the present. It gets harder with each kid, as life gets busier. (A commonly joked-about reality is how the first baby gets an elaborate baby book and the last baby gets a few photos on a hard drive somewhere.) But one dad purposefully set out from the start to create a record of his daughter's growth and change, and the result is nothing short of extraordinary.


Dutch filmmaker Frans Hofmeester started filming his daughter Lotte for just a handful of seconds a week starting as a newborn. It's the kind of thing a lot of parents might plan to do or start doing but not stick with. Hofmeester kept it up, though, always filming Lotte in front of a plain cloth background. Putting the videos together as he went, he created a time-lapse of her growing up, which has received viral attention multiple times as he's released updated compilations every few years.

In 2019, Hofmeester shared the "Portrait of Lotte 0 to 20 years" video, in which we can see Lotte grow from an infant to an adult in just five minutes.

People found the video surprisingly emotional, even though they don't know Hofmeester or Lotte personally. Indeed, seeing someone's entire childhood zoom through time like this is moving, even if we don't have kids of our own. We've all been through the growing-up process ourselves, we all have a flood of memories from our formative years and we all know how quickly it all goes.

Those of us with kids see our own children in this video, which is even more striking than seeing ourselves.

"I wanted to document the growing up process and create an artistic project we could all enjoy forever," Hofmeester shared in another video. He has also created the same kind of video for his son, Vince. In an article in The Guardian, Hofmeester explained why he decided to dedicate himself to the project:

"When Lotte was born, she was changing at such a rapid pace, and I was desperate to keep the memories intact. As any parent knows, the difference between a child at two days old and two months old is startling. When Vince was born, I started filming him too. Other people might make a photo book, but I decided to film. This is the most photographed and filmed generation ever, but what are we actually doing with these pictures? They just sit in a file on the computer. I wanted to try and convey the essence of my children, of how they look to me. We don't often look at the photographs we take, not in the same way that an artist would look at his paintings."

Lotte is now 22, and Hofmeester shared a yearly version of her growing-up compilation just a few months ago. In this one, we get to see her on each birthday, saying a few words (in Dutch, of course). It's amazing to see the differences from year to year.

"One of the reasons that the project has had such an impact, I think, is because it's very moving," Hofmeester wrote. "People are touched by it because it conveys a feeling of the soul. They've written to me about their own children. The film makes you realise what life is about, in a direct way."

Imagine being able to see your whole childhood documented this way, or to have a record of your kids' growing-up years that was so succinct. What a lovely gift this father and filmmaker has created for his children—and for the rest of us as well.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Democracy

Appalachian mom's speech on Kentucky's proposed abortion ban is a must-hear for everyone

Danielle Kirk is speaking up for those often overlooked in our cultural debates.

Canva, courtesy of Danielle Kirk

Appalachian mom gives passionate speech.

Many people felt a gut punch when the Supreme Court issued its decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the decades-old Roe v. Wade decision that protected a woman's right to an abortion. However, for some this was a call to action.

Danielle Kirk, 27, a mom of two and an activist on TikTok, used her voice in an attempt to educate the people that make decisions in her small town. Kirk lives in Kentucky where a trigger law came into effect immediately after Roe v. Wade was overturned. Being a former foster child, she knew she had to say something. Kirk spoke exclusively with Upworthy about why she decided to speak up.

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Memories of childhood get lodged in the brain, emerging when you least expect.

There are certain pleasurable sights, smells, sounds and tastes that fade into the rear-view mirror as we grow from being children to adults. But on a rare occasion, we’ll come across them again and it's like a portion of our brain that’s been hidden for years expresses itself, creating a huge jolt of joy.

It’s wonderful to experience this type of nostalgia but it often leaves a bittersweet feeling because we know there are countless more sensations that may never come into our consciousness again.

Nostalgia is fleeting and that's a good thing because it’s best not to live in the past. But it does remind us that the wonderful feeling of freedom, creativity and fun from our childhood can still be experienced as we age.

A Reddit user by the name of agentMICHAELscarnTLM posed a question to the online forum that dredged up countless memories and experiences that many had long forgotten. He asked a simple question, “What’s something you can bring up right now to unlock some childhood nostalgia for the rest of us?”

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