This man has redefined what family is and how to love.

Today marks 89 years of life to this amazing human being.

ania volovique photography

Vladislav was just 14 years old when he went to fight in the Second World War. Two years in the army has taught him many things about life, survival and friendship. Each awarded medal and star has a story and makes him relive those moments which he happily can spend hours reminiscing.

Shortly after the war, Vladislav’s father passed away and he was left taking care of his sisters and mother. Not even an adult himself, he took on a role of the caretaker and was supporting the family of five.

It was in the army that he bought his first camera. However, it remained a hobby on the side throughout his life.  Taking care of his family took priority which meant not going further with his studies and turning his passion into a career.

He never got married and never had any children.

Vladislav did have one granddaughter though, as luck would have it, it was me.

From the moment I was born, he was there every step of the way, at every parent/teacher meeting and nursing me back to health with every sickness.

We are each other’s birthday presents having been born just a day apart. His walls are marked with every milestone of my life and my height measured each time I would visit. I would joke and call him mom; He is not just a grandfather but a role model with the kindest heart.  A photographer by heart and coincidentally I have followed in his footsteps and realized not only my own dream but his as well.

He might never see these words or fully understand his influence on my life but I do hope he feels it even with 1800 miles between us.


tattoo memoryHappy 89th birthday dedushka! 

Thank you for being my best friend, my ally and someone I can always count on.

Thank you for teaching me how to ride a bike.

Thank you for always letting me win at cards.

Thank you for giving me your unconditional love.

Most of all thank you for being YOU!

Celebrating your special day and your special life today and every day.  Please know how important you are and the influence you have had and continue to have on the people that are privileged to meet you.

Blood may be thicker than water but our connection is the thickest one of all.

C Днём Рождения Дедушка!

I promise to love and never forget you.

If you have a story to share about one of your grandparents or someone who was a role model growing up, please share in the comments below.

So often we live day in and out without fully acknowledging our love and appreciation for the people who are there no matter what. It takes a village to raise a child but sometimes the effect of just one person can mean the world.

Photography by Ania Volovique  |  |

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