You Taught Me

You tied polka-dotted bows on my pigtails and showed me how to eat stand-up-and-dip eggs. You taught me how to iron a shirt, yoke first, and how to pin a pattern—I loved the joyous crinkling your patterns made. You taught me about socks without friends and how to ice skate, to flip ebilskivers with a fork in a cast-iron pan. You taught me how to say hello in four languages: Bonjour, Hola, Guten Tag, Konichiwa. You taught me to balance ornaments on a tree and to string lights up and down each sticky branch. You choreographed our gym shows and we made peanut soup from Kenya. You taught me to crease the edges on the perfect present, how to measure Crisco and how to lead camp songs. You taught me how to eat an artichoke—to remove the prickly center to get to the tender heart. I learned from you how to organize my life—how to say I am finished, and I feel well. I fell asleep crying on the doorjamb when you went out for the night.