A little chit-chat with strangers? Sure. Small talk and "have a nice day," is easy enough. But I never expected to meet a kindred spirit because of a short conversation in a swimming pool dressing room.
It never would have happened at all if my girls didn't have a problem staring at naked people. To be honest, they stare at anybody, clothes or no, it is just that naked makes for even more interesting viewing. We were getting out of the pool and I was trying to get them dry and ready to go when 2 cute girls and their cute mom came into the women's dressing room. They were getting ready to swim. The girls had beautiful matching pink and purple suits and my girls couldn't take their eyes off them.
Our conversation went something like this, "Girls, don't stare, it's not polite. Yes, there swimming suits are so pretty." My little girls continued to stare and the other little girls stared right back. So it was only natural that the other mom and I talked about children's swimwear and few other trivial details.
As we were leaving to go on to the next activity and they were going in to swim, I said to Other Mom (I didn't know her name yet), "It would have been fun to go swimming at the same time, looks like our girls could be good playmates." And she replied, "We'll be swimming tomorrow about 10:30, if you want to come then."
And so it we did. We met up and swam at the same time the next day, us moms chatting at the edge of the pool while the kids played for an hour. We had a lot in common and had easy conversation over the noisy pool theatrics. Her two girls and son and my two girls and Rem are similar in ages.
I felt like I was taking a monumental step when I asked for her name so I could find her on facebook. Introverts make a BIG deal about such things (mentally of course). Little did I know that I would take "monumental" to a new level when I later asked these stranger friends to stay at our house for the night, but that's for later in the story.
Come to find out, neither of us are the "make friends with strangers" type of people. Both our husbands were shocked. "What, you made friends with someone in the dressing room, that's not like you"?!!?! That's what her husband said. And mine was also intrigued. Two introverts building a lifelong friendship with one, hour long conversation (not to mention the half-clothed part)? Impossible. Our husbands and sons had also been in the men's dressing room at the same time, but held to social protocol and didn't strike up a conversation.
When we got home, we found each other online and the girls sent letters to each other via real mail. They've exchanged 3 letter back and forth in the last 2 months. Mandy asked when we could have her friends over. Oh man, it's not that easy. Their family is from beautiful British Columbia (that's in Canada, eh).
|Rem and his new friend|
|Mandy and Kristin|
It was really fun (and I'm not just saying that because she has found my blog). Our families clicked, conversation was easy, their children delightful, and all were gracious guests. We found we have TONS in common, including religious beliefs, parenting methods, similar hobbies, and a love for portable video devices to entertain children for long car rides.
This whole experience makes me think of this verse: "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it." Hebrews 13:8. This verse was refering to actual divine beings, but I think we were blessed in a divine way by genuine, kind people.
Whether coincidence or providence, I'm thankful for our chance, awkward meeting in the dressing room. You never know where a "hello, sorry my kids are staring at you" will lead. We're already plotting a BC excursion to visit our no-longer-stranger friends. God is good and knows what we need (although I would beg to differ with this family's 7+ hour driving distance away, next door would be better).