Poor Isaac. Poor Sherine.
Isaac's first wedding wasn't a good experience for baby or bride.
Sherine -- our erstwhile cleaning lady, Arabic tutor and babysitter (from the halcyon days of Dan's employment) -- is Coptic Christian. I had never been to a Coptic wedding, and so I based my expectations on Muslim celebrations.
What did I expect?
Muslim Egyptians don't invite their friends to the ceremony, which takes place in a mosque or dusty government office. They skip right to the dancing, eating, whirling dervishes, eating, dancing and eating until dawn. If you're lucky, you can escape at 2 a.m. with excuses.
We thought we'd eat a bit, hover in the background, say hello to Sherine and new-husband Osama, and leave.
We were herded into St. Mark's church at promptly 9:15 p.m., as stated on the invitation. We stood up in the pews, we sat down in the pews. Things were chanted. People chanted in response. We stood up, we sat down. Little boys and girls ran up and down the aisles. Old women chatted. People continued to come and go. We stood up, we sat down. The couple was crowned and robed. Incense went up and down the aisles.
Isaac was dazed and exhausted and quiet.
I admit that, after about 45 minutes, I became one of the offenders. I went to the back of the church and chatted with Sherine's sister and another woman who had a five-month-old baby girl.
After about 15 minutes more, the ceremony was over, and everyone filed out of the church. At that point, we were supposed to get in line to congratulate the bride and groom, and have our pictures taken with them.
In the receiving line, Isaac was mauled. Is it because he's so fair-skinned? Is it because he's so chubby? Is he really that cute? Who knows. But he was kissed, pawed and patted by at least three dozen young women. His mouth was wobbling. His chin was wobbling. He wanted to go home.
When we got to the front of the receiving line, both Sherine and Osama tried to take Isaac from my arms. Osama caught him up and -- Isaac started to shriek. And shriek and shriek and shriek. I tried to calm him down and go back for our photos, but Isaac was done for the night. In the one picture we have, Isaac looks miserable. (See it here.)
Maybe he was just sad to see his babysitter married off to another man.
Poor Sherine. Poor Isaac.