Like Mother, Like Daughter

Junior Anna Baklanov shares how her mother, Elena Baklanov, is so much more than just a mom.

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Submitted by Anna Baklanov

15-year-old Baklanov poses outside with her mother for a photo.

Madeline Hammett, Print Co-Editor-In-Chief

Walking in the door after a long cross country practice, she is hot and sweaty and wants nothing more than to take a shower and go to sleep. She smells the sweet aroma of home cooked dinner and sees her family sitting around the kitchen table laughing and waiting patiently for her to join them and begin eating. Hearing her Mama’s laugh and seeing her heart warming smile immediately brightens junior Anna Baklanov’s day and gives the energy to continue working hard.

“Mama is the heart and soul of my family,” Baklanov said. “Home is a place where the five of us relax and just let go. Being with my family makes any day better.”

Five-year-old Baklanov poses closely with her mother for a photo. (submitted by Anna Baklanov)

Baklanov and her mom, Elena, have a unique relationship to say the least. Many parents of teens are known to pressure their children, according to Baklanov. She has never felt this pressure from her mom. 

“When my Mama is at a cross country or swim meet, she doesn’t need to say anything. She can just stand there and I feel our connection flowing through my veins,” Baklanov said. “My mom has always just wanted me to do my best, to love what I was doing, and to always have huge dreams that can be accomplished.”

Being from another country, multicultural relations and respect is important to Elena. She tries to reflect this onto her children and a key part of that for Baklanov has been Sion.

“I was born in Belarus and grew up in a beautiful city of St. Petersburg, Russia. I had a very happy childhood blessed with a loving family and friends, and I strive to bring that to my kids,” Elena said. “In my multicultural family, people were respected and loved for who they were. Everyone in my extended family had graduate degrees going back 4 generations, so education was important. This is one of the reasons Anna is at Sion.”

A family friend of the Baklanov’s, Molly Steadman, thinks that Anna and Elena’s relationship is unique in the best way. Steadman thinks that one of the reason’s they are so close is because of the distance from family. The Baklanovs immigrated from Russia as a young married couple, which makes Baklanov’s grandparents and cousins are too far away for much visiting, according to Steadman. 

“This has made Anna and Elena extremely close. They are lovely friends as well as mother and daughter. I see such respect for each other’s intellect and point of view,” Steadman said. “Anna is so smart and driven. I know she gets those traits from her mother. Elena is one of the most brilliant women I have ever met and I know Anna is growing up to be just the same.”

Baklanov feels that learning Russian helps to foster her connection with her mom even more. Elena is originally from Belarus and grew up in Russia, previously the area was known as USSR. Baklanov brags on the fact that her mom supports her passion to learn Russian as well as supporting everything else she participates in and chooses to try out. Mutual respect, for Baklanov, is one of the things she adores most about her mom.

Elena holds three-year-old Baklanov with her juice on her knee as they pose for a photo on the beach. (submitted by Anna Baklanov)

“My mama supports me in everything and anything I love doing,” Baklanov said. “She’ll offer her advice and expertise if we have common interests. With other passions we don’t share, she respects mine and helps them get stronger by inspiring me that I can do anything.”

As well as supporting everything Baklanov does, Elena has raised her family in a very humble manner. She stands for specific values and teaches her kids to root themselves and their actions in those values as well. 

“Honesty, kindness, and love define our family dynamic. My mama stands for truth,” Baklanov said. “She has always wanted me to be truthful and to get right to the point. Because of this, it is nearly impossible for me to lie. That’s not how I was raised by my mama.”

Sion’s teaching reflects the way Baklanov’s mom raised her, according to Baklanov. Elena has raised Baklanov to be hard-working, loyal, and kind, which are just a few of the adjectives Elena embodies daily.

“To me, my mama is the most amazing woman in the world. She’s brilliant, kind, loving, generous, caring, hard-working, a go getter, and full of advice,” Baklanov said. “This is more ‘Sion’ than me.”