In early October of this year, I had the opportunity to spend a week on St. Martin Island in the Caribbean with my three sons. This was the first time in maybe twenty-years that the four of us had all been together. The island is divided between the Dutch side, the southern part of the island and the French side, or the northern part of the island. We stayed in the French cul-de-sac which is on the French side. I rented an Airbnb that sat right on the water, with its own private beach and an amazing pool.
My oldest son flew from Paris where he is a professor of strategy and Innovation at Insead, the international business school. My middle son drove down from Maine and met myself and my youngest son in Boston where he lives with his family. The three of us flew direct from Boston to St. Martin. The purpose of this father-son trip was to celebrate my 70th birthday which was in June.
It was truly an amazing trip, with beautiful weather of 84-87 degrees every day, and a water temperature of 84 degrees. We ate French pastries every morning from the local French bakery, French baguettes for lunch, and had some amazing dinners. We were pleasantly surprised at how good the food was. It helped that my oldest son is fluent in French.
St. Martin is a beautiful place with amazing weather, great food, and everything you would want in a vacation. However, the best part was spending downtime with my three-sons, something I had not taken much time to do when they were growing up. I don’t have many regrets in life, but the biggest one I do have is that I was too busy chasing money in my younger years and did not spend enough quality time with my sons. Time is worth so much more than money. We can always make more money, but we can’t make more time. A lesson I have learned later in life.
One of the unique experiences we had was, when asked, that I talked about my life growing up and my sons recorded the conversation. We often don’t think of doing such things so that we leave something for our posterity to remember us by. I never really gave it much thought, but we all have an interesting story to tell. My story started with having my father and grandfather killed in a car accident five days before I was born, a mean stepfather, a near death experience with my mother, a life of petty crime when I was younger, (I guess stealing cars may not be considered petty crime), and much more that I had forgotten. Much of what was discussed, I discovered that my three-sons had no knowledge of. I know I forgot to mention much of what I experienced during my seventy-years, and it has motivated me to come home and start to assemble bullet points of my life so that I can have a professional individual interview me and then have this transcribed so my sons, their wife’s and my ten grandchildren will have something to remember me by.
I don’t usually talk much about my personal life with others and especially in this blog post. But this experience in St. Martin was very special. Sharing our life-time experiences can be very rewarding for everyone involved and provides an opportunity to reflect on the life we have lived which we often take for granted.