On my plane ride home I sat and spoke with a Harvard educated attorney. I disrupted him from his pressing work and I am all about making a man stop his work to take a look around and talk about life.

He told me it was quite common for Russian women to be raising their children without daddies. I don't think this is a purely Russian phenomenon. I think it's just the way of the world.

I know many mothers that are raising their children alone. Lena manages to do quite well for herself and her beautiful daughter, Stastya.

Sometimes it makes me sad to think that children are being raised this way but then I start to remember what it was like for me when I was 15 and how independent I have become because I didn't have a daddy to depend upon.

Lena does the best for her daughter. She luckily has great parents that help raise Stasya. I can't say the same for Americans so much because not everyone can depend on their parents for help.

But I was impressed how much Lena was able to provide for her little girl since life is so hard in Russia. Stasya has many luxuries an American girl has but with the opportunity of having a better public education and an unstable country to grow up in (which has both advantages and disadvantages).

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Stasya and Lena

Lighthouse near the dacha, August 2000