Our first time was in July 2008.
My sister convinced us that she could watch our sleeping newborn between feeds, and that we should go out.
We headed up the pass and onto the N2 towards Plett. Turning off at Keurboomstrand, we made our way to Ristorante Enrico.
Enrico’s is one of those rare establishments that doesn’t rely on just great food, or just great views. The food is fantastic, and they’re not kidding when they say, ‘Any closer and you’ll get wet.’ You half expect spectacular waves to drench your plate.
We’d been parents for three months, to a blind baby. His cataract surgery was two months away and life was a strange limbo: still brightly lit by shock and simultaneously clouded by terrifying unknowns. We’d come on holiday to breathe the air you only breathe on the edge of Africa. It was an attempt to find perspective. Lick our wounds. Adjust to the new abnormal.
And this was date night.
It was freezing. The restaurant was warm. Mellow. Not so full that we had to shout. Not so empty that the waiters could hear our conversation.
Waves crashed in the dark.
The food was incredible.
We sat and cried.
It was pathetic, and necessary. One of those marital moments in which you’re deeply comforted by the exquisite, excruciating truth that there is no one else with whom you’d rather feel pain.
I guess because of that evening, Enrico’s has always been one of Our Places. It gets factored into the holiday budget. We’ve been back enough times to recognise the waiters – on dates (when we’re lucky enough to be holidaying with grandparents et al) and later with the boys in tow.
To Cam and Scott, anything above the Wimpy is ‘fancy’. Enrico’s is ‘fancy by the sea’. They totally love it. The first few times they ran amok on the deck and ate just-the-cheese off half a pizza. We would eat in shifts, alternatively wrangling toddlers into acceptable fancy-restaurant behaviour.
Gradually, the boys have grown into the seats and the serving sizes. Last year, on holiday over Cam’s birthday, his two wishes were to watch the sunrise on the beach, and to go to Enrico’s, where he claimed the title of Officially Eating More Pizza Than Dad by single-handedly subduing a large Hawaiian. (Pizza, not person.)
A couple weeks ago, it’s another freezing day in July and we’re back at Enrico’s. I watch Cam crack open his Fanta Grape and pour it into a chilled glass like a pro. This kid who slept in a cot while we dated and cried, eight years ago.
Scott orders a strawberry milkshake. He’s almost graduated from slurping to sipping and no longer kneels to reach the straw.
It’s a small, unremarkable moment that defines an on-purpose verb,
To family doesn’t mean, eat pizza on holiday. It means, do the over-and-over of slowly getting somewhere.
We family when we keep on making and remaking circles of mercy. When we keep on finding each other – forgiving each other – no matter how many times we’ve been irritated or exhausted or disappointed. We family with the satisfaction that each time we circle back to this place, by God’s grace we know and love each other a little more.
When we start a family, we have no idea what hangs in the balance. We have no idea how big the future is, or how to finish a family well.
All we can really do is family in the now by keeping on choosing brave over easy, remembering that there is always hope.
Sometimes, there is even pizza.
. . .
So lovely to share this space with you – thank you for reading. I’d love you to pass on this post if it’s been a blessing to you. There’s a whole hurting world out there needing hope.
Have a splendid week!