A viral time-lapse video of a little girl going from baby to young woman is making parents cry
Every day I want to press pause.
Every day since my children were born I waver between feeling so totally delighted to watch them grow and thrive and change and learn things, while also feeling something akin to grief that they are growing up so much, much too fast. That every morning when I wake them they are a little bit bigger, a little bit taller, a little bit more ready for a life that I am no longer the absolute centre of. It is really the heart and soul of parenting, I think, this dual sense of happiness and grief of watching children grow up.
I flick through pictures all the time, on my phone, in my Facebook galleries and on Instagram, marvelling at how fast it is all going by. How it seems like just moments ago they were chubby-cheeked babies asleep in their buggies or snug in the carrier I wore on my chest. Birthdays, Christmases, first steps, missing teeth, big milestones and small, you look back at them in pictures, and they are all whizzing by. And so we all want to press pause. If only there was a pause button.
This very reason, the way we all collectively feel about our children growing up, is no doubt why Dutch artist Frans Hofmeester's video of his 20-year-old daughter, Lotte, has gone viral – and is making parents everywhere, myself included, cry.
Back in 2012, Hofmeester went viral with "Time Lapse Lotte," which compiled the weekly videos he had shot of his daughter from a few days after she was born until she turned 12. In all of the scenes, she's talking to the camera in front of a simple white backdrop, making it all the more obvious how much she changes and grows from week to week.
"When Lotte was born, she was changing at such a rapid pace, and I was desperate to keep the memories intact," Hofmeester wrote in an essay for The Guardian after gaining fame. "As any parent knows, the difference between a child at two days old and two months old is startling."
It turns out, it's still startling to see someone age from age 12 to age 20. The latest "Portrait of Lotte" takes her into adulthood, and it already has millions of views since it went live a few weeks ago. As we see her teenage emotions and style changes, it's like undergoing adolescence all over again. For some of us, it also feels like a glimpse into the future, when our kids are teens, too. The video loses none of its tenderness in the later clips. As viewers, just like as parents, we're constantly nostalgic for the previous second of footage.
Are you crying yet? I know, me too.