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Charles arrived in 1995

The calm after the storm: Charlie, aged about two hours, in his maman's arms!

The calm after the storm: Charlie, aged about two hours, in his maman’s arms!

This is one of my favorite photographs ever. It is August 28, 1995, in the Clinique des Augustines in Malestroit, Brittany. No longer busy being born, we find Charles Allistair Tristan Stock, cleaned up and conked out after all that effort, in the arms of his mother, whose remarkably serene expression belies the labor that she had just been going through not two hours before.

Papa with Charles, then known as “sac à patates”, at about two months in Le Tahu, the household’s first home in Hermeray.

Charlie’s grand-père, a retired fashion photographer, took advantage of the opportunity presented by this auspicious event to bring out his equipment and take a series of photos of the family in the maternity clinic. Others can be seen here.

We were all in Brittany staying at La Grée, grand-père’s cottage in the Breton countryside. The end of our summer vacation was approaching, and maman wanted to give berth in the country rather than in the hustle and bustle of the Paris area where we lived most of the time.

Below are a few more photos of the new kid on the block, all with assorted admirers! There are also a host of pictures of big kids with little kids.

We did our own little share of presenting our son and heir to the world, à la Mufasa in Disney’s “Jungle Book”, in particular to the senior members of our respective families.

Interestingly enough, this was an instinct that each of Marie-Hélène and I had independently and more or less unconsciously. Well, we never discussed it, and so maybe it was conscious on her part, but not mine. I only discovered it by going through the photos of the time, and noticing that never-before made visits to aging relatives occurred during the year or so after Charlie arrived.

Two pictures from those visits are also in the below gallery.

By the time he was a year old, Charlie was one of the most important people in the lives of all four of his siblings. The extent to which the natural jealousy of older siblings was absent during his early years was particularly striking. The same applied to Alex. It was the two little guys who transformed us from a household into a family.

The last word here has to go to maman, feeding her new boy at a cafe in Brittany, March 1996.

Charlie’s arrival was but one step in our blending. Here are others: the wedding, support from my mum and Marie-Helene’s papa the older children learning to live together and blending.

Here is the main History page. And here’s Charlie’s main page with photos of him through 2007.