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The simplest, yet the hardest.

Yesterday I learnt that polite people are hard to find nowadays. Now I understand why my mom have been always fussy about etiquette. Because yes, it is a lifetime and constant reminder. Because to be a better person, we need to learn and be reminded in every single day.

I write this post not because I want to be praised. I write this so I can remember this story and read the silver linings.

Months ago, I decided to donate my expressed breast milk because La Luna did not really need it since she got me around to nurse. I blasted a message through socmed and I made a promise to myself that I would give the 29 bottles to anyone who called me first.  And I did.

The bottles went to a 2 months baby girl, whose mother could not produce much amount of breastmilk because she had to spend most of her times taking care of the baby girl's 5 year old brother. To me it sounded like a cliche reason compared to premature babies, or babies whose mothers was sick and could not breastfeed because medical reasons, or other 'serious' reasons.

But then again, I made my promise. I would give the bottles to whoever called me first and she did.

We did few WhatsApp messaging, and I gave her some instructions of how to bring the breastmilk home safely. A few hours later, her husband came to pick up the bottles. He waited outside while having a cigarette. He popped-in his head to my door and asked me some questions. I felt funny having a chat with a stranger like that. Well, even a stranger should come inside. Sit politely, then make a conversation with the owner of the house. Isn't it a 101 etiquette?

From the conversation, I knew his wife who called me this morning, the baby girl's mother, the one who asked my breast milk, was actually in the car. She did not even bother to pop her head out of the window pane to say thank you or said good bye. And what would happen next was too easy to predict. No more WhatsApp messaging after that, even to say thank you.

Three months later, which was yesterday, I contacted her again whether she wanted more expressed breastmilk. My baby girl already started to wean and I needed bigger space in the fridge, so I decided to donate the rest of the expressed breastmilk. Then why that woman again? Because in my religion, babies who drank breastmilk from other woman, is also considered her son / daughter too. So yes, I won't bother of having another 'kids', then I decided to give the rest 44 bottles for the baby girl who was 5 months already.

Again, we had the WhatsApp messaging and she said her husband would pick up the bottles. "I would not be at home when your husband arrived, but I already left a note to the maid" I said to her. Then she said OK.

The funny feeling came again when I went home and listened to what my (actually my mom's) maid said about the guy who picked up the bottles.

"Ibu, tadi bapaknya yang ngambil susu rempong banget deh. Mana enggak mau turun dari mobil, aku bolak-balik berapa kali tuh ya. Pertama ambil tas. Terus kasihin susunya. Eh taunya botolnya ada yang nge-pop trus jatuh ke bawah mobil. dia minta cuciin. aku balik dulu ke rumah, tak cuci trus siram air panas trus kasihin lagi. Aduuuuh, ... mbok ya turun gitu ya dari mobil jadi orang enggak usah bolak-balik."

I smiled. At that time, I felt a big pity for the baby girl.

If parents cannot be polite to other people even those who had helped them, how could they teach politeness to their kids?

If it was all about thank you (a nice gesture of receiving things) that is so hard to utter, then how about sorry? Because Thank you and sorry. They may sound simple, yet the hardest to do.

Thank you Mamah, for teaching me and (still) reminding me of those bits and bobs. About what to do to people, to older people. About what to do when people offer me somethings, about how to do small talks, about never bring home foods from formal events unless you know the host to the bone.

So my children, Malicca and La Luna, I will do the same thing too like my mother does to me. Someday you will understand why.


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