The Ribbon Festival was on Saturday. (You remember The Ribbon Festival. We’ve been there one, two, three, four, five times before.) It had been on my calendar for a month. The dresses had been chosen for a week. The day before, I had pulled out the music and numbered the measures, hung out the dresses, and located the shoes – in fact, we’d done a test fitting, just to be sure we were ready. But two hours before performance time, we were not ready. Julia had lost a shoe and Lucy’s shoes, suddenly and inexplicably, did not fit. So, at forty-five minutes to showtime, after a swift foot measurement, I sent the girls down their respective aisles at the shoe store with the task of selecting a black dress shoe in their size. This is how Julia ended up with a pair of heels – low heels, but HEELS – and Lucy, wedges.

This wouldn’t have happened on any other day.

They put them on right there in the store and walked proudly out of the mall like they had those robot legs from Herbie Hancock’s Rockit video.

Amazingly, we were on time for the event.

Lucy battled her stage fright on the bench for 68 agonizing seconds (which I cut from the video) before tentatively, but successfully performing Lightly Row.


Julia played Minuet 2.


They felt pretty good about themselves.

Lucy and Julia with their ribbons

They were almost as pleased with their ribbons as they were with their shoes.