While they were being transformed from infants into the savvy schoolgirls they are now, I did a lot of growing, too.
When they were babies, I was a college graduate in a strange land. The one on the left is Nastia; her family lived near one of the orphanages and I would visit them sometimes. My Russian was limited but the young mother would always pray with me. They had very little money, but she would always feed me and it was always delicious. Their family has become very dear to me and they recently had a baby in the spring, who shares my name.
These two were once the littlest pupils and we made a special Sunday school group for them. Now they are with the big kids.
They both got to be flower girls in various weddings. By the time I was getting married, Uliana (on the right) had a little sister. We asked Uliana to carry my train and Sasha to scatter flower petals.
By next year they will be even taller and wiser and prettier. And maybe I will start to measure milestones by how big David is. But I will always remember those girls and the early years.