Julia woke up with a 102.3 degree fever on Saturday. Normally, a fever that high would warrant a couch-bed, a bucket and exclusive remote control privileges. But this wasn’t any old Saturday. It was Ribbon Festival Saturday.

Now, sometime, someone decided, and I’m sure it’s written somewhere, that children are supposed to stay home until they’ve been fever-free for 24 hours. Julia, however, did not care about that. She wanted to go to the Ribbon Festival. She’s been there once, twice, and would this time be three-times a ribbon-getter. And a purple ribbon-getter at that. Finally. She played her Ribbon Festival piece on an endless loop all the while shouting, “See! I can do it! That fever stuff is crap!”

Being that I’m somewhat of a rule-follower, I struggled with the situation, but ultimately decided that we would throw caution to the wind and take a chance on a purple ribbon.

I think it was the right thing to do.

The song she played was Chant Arabe. (Admittedly, not my favorite.) It’s the kind of song that most kids like to pound out hard and fast and equally as loud. Like a jackhammer. But Julia exhibited control, playing at an appropriate volume and speed, and as the song is written. And she was careful not to breathe on anyone in the process.

This is what the judge said about it:

Great, Julia!

I like your attention to the accents!

Wonderful right hand melodic tone, very confident, and solid left hand support.

Great rit. at the end!

Very, very secure and musical – totally solid.

Great job!

We were all so proud of her, although Lucy refused to be photographed with her. (She was mugging for her own shot.)

Julia (and Lucy) at the Ribbon Festival

Phoebe was willing, however.

Julia and Phoebe at the Ribbon Festival

Mr. Palmer was sufficiently proud, too, and rewarded Julia with a heartfelt squeeze.

And then, not just a mom, but The Mom – a woman with at least four musical prodigies that she homeschools approached and complimented Julia on her passion for piano. Julia has been performing alongside this woman’s children since she began piano with Mr. Palmer. Her two oldest daughters are as beautiful as they are musically talented and Julia watches them as closely as I watch their mother, because she seems so together. I want to know her secrets. I want to ask her advice. I want people to feel about me the way I feel about her.

Saturday’s Ribbon Festival was her oldest daughter’s 15th and final Ribbon Festival performance.

“She started at the same age you did, Julia,” the mom told her.

Our misty eyes met. She smiled and I smiled. She nodded. And that was everything I needed.