Welcoming Raja Younis Jr.

Little Raja at the hospital. Say, “Mash”Allah!”

Yesterday morning I woke up to the news that my brother and his wife had their son. Little Raja Arkom Younis was born early Saturday morning at 1 am and made Attiya and I Phupos, (the title reserved for the aunt that is a child’s father’s sister) my parents a Dadi and Dada and most significantly, Val and Qasar, Mom and Dad.

As I get older, I realize more and more the special bond of family. Each trial endured, each happiness shared and each milestone achieved makes me love them even more. Today, again, I was reminded of the beauty of family. From the moment I woke up, I got calls from my sister, mom, dad, aunts, cousins, sister-in-law and mother-in-law sharing in the happiness of the day. I got to Skype with my family in Pakistan as we celebrated this blessing. There was so much laughter and happiness on the phone as each person greeted me, “As salaam walaikum Phupo!”

The proud parents on their wedding day last year. They will obviously be awesome parents!
(Photo courtesy of Ryan Southen Photography)

This little, tiny baby in the hospital can not yet comprehend the love that we all have for him but as he grows older, I hope he finds a day like this one, when he looks around and he sees all these people, people who have been with him on the long journey of life, and remembers that one day so many years ago, they welcomed the news of his arrival with such happiness, love and joy.  As I reflected on this today, I thought of my mom’s sisters and the joy they must have felt when their older sister had her first child. Qasar is the oldest cousin in my mom’s family, the first of twenty-six children born to the sisters and lone brother. And now little Raja will carry on that tradition. He will be the oldest of the cousins on our side of the family. As Attiya and I welcome our children, and Qasar and Val grow their family, he will be the little ring leader. How life marches on. A new generation takes the torch. And before we can blink our eyes, our children will be writing these words.

Last night Feraz and I went out on a bike ride around dusk. We rode along the Mount Vernon Trail and Four Mile Run weaving under bridges and overpasses. At one point, as out bikes coasted downhill on the trail, I felt the wind in my face, I saw the sun set reflecting on the water, and overhead, a group of birds flew by, their dark silhouettes against the blue and red sky. I prayed that baby Raja would experience endless moments of bliss and happiness like I felt right then. I prayed that God would make him of the righteous people, a person who does good in the world, making it infinitely better. I prayed that he would be a source by which his already wonderful parents become even better. I prayed that his life would be one of happiness and peace and goodness. May God always protect you our sweet little Raja. May you always know the endless reserve of love we have for you. Ameen.


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