but, not Only Because of Biology
Mid-May and throughout June is a very busy season for our immediate family—which, by the way, isn’t all that large. We celebrate five birthdays, one anniversary, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day. In addition, there are special events like family reunions, graduations and end-of-school programs.
This year, we added to the joyful chaos our 7-year-old granddaughter’s first dance recital. After almost four hours of sitting, watching one delightful performance after another, I leaned over to Emmi’s paternal grandpa, squirming in his seat as was I, and whispered, “Just think, Dennis, this is the first of many!”
Look at these sweet little ballerinas! The one on the left with the Mona Lisa smile is our granddaughter, Emalynn!
One of the most special aspects of the recital is that it was the 61st yearly event for the Bleker Dance Studio, a family-owned, multi-generational studio. Since I had returned only a few days earlier from a family reunion that got me thinking about the power of family legacy, another impact of legacy surfaced as I considered Emmi’s first-of-probably-many dance recital.
The website description of the Bleker studio reads:
We are a Spokane Valley dance studio that has been providing quality dance instruction since 1957. We are Christian based, and we believe in teaching proper dance technique in a positive, encouraging environment.
The Bleker’s, of course, are leaving a legacy for their family, but in addition, they are leaving a legacy for hundreds of young girls and women who have grown in grace and confidence while learning to pirouette, tap, tumble, and work as a team.
Legacy doesn’t always live on because of biology as seen in this definition: anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor
I enjoy friendships with several women who have never become mothers. Some are married, others single. Most tell me being childless wasn’t their ‘Plan A.’ Some have grieved deeply for the child they’d dreamed of, but most have resilient spirits and have been able to move beyond the lost dream.
Many of my friends who aren’t biological mothers are women of significant faith. I’ve watched and admired ways in which they’ve become ‘mothers- and/or grandmothers-of-the-heart.’
Even though spiritual offspring may not carry threads of biological DNA, there’s no doubt, the guidance and encouragement these women give leaves a legacy of faith—oftentimes, even more powerful than the biological parent’s.
Emmi’s dance instructors challenge young students to jump higher. Spiritual parents and grandparents motivate young men and women to consider a life lived with committed faith, oftentimes reaching beyond unhealthy families of origin.
A lovely legacy isn’t always a matter of either/or. It may include spiritual fathers and mothers as well as faith-filled biological parents.
This morning my contemplative prayer group considered a passage of scripture found in 2 Timothy, which illustrates. The Apostle Paul, in the winter season of his earthly journey, wrote a letter to Timothy, his ‘son of the heart.’ These tender words paint a lovely picture of legacy left both spiritually and biologically.
I am writing to Timothy, my dear son…
I thank God for you…Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. I long to see you again, for I remember your tears as we parted. And I will be filled with joy when we are together again.
I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. 
Whether you are a biological, adoptive or ‘of-the-heart’ parent or grandparent, I hope these words will inspire you to consider the significance of your legacy, and I pray…
Blessings on your journey…
Doting Grandpa Ron made sure his favorite little dancer was presented with a long-stemmed rose. Earlier in the day, Grandma Susie took Emmi to get a manicure. Those fluorescent orange and glittery pink nails looked perfect with her adorable costume!