Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Why I travel with my kids

Why do I travel with my kids?  I have been asking myself this question a lot over the past five days. On the surface, the answers are obvious: experiencing the world through their unjaded eyes, encouraging them to seek out new experiences, enjoying the camaraderie of a shared adventure.  Yet, as we wind through our summer tour of the hot and humid states, I'm finding these reasons lacking the inspiration that I need to make it through some of the more challenging moments.

For those times when I find myself dragging a screaming child off the beach, negotiating blanket placement between two kids unaccustomed to bed-sharing, or pulling off the highway for a bathroom break 15 minutes after the previous bathroom break, I have come up with these less obvious, possibly more compelling benefits to travelling with my children.

I am forced to face my fears.

Though I nearly wept a of couple weeks ago when I had to bring Little E to the foul composting toilet at our beach at home, life on the road demands that I put aside my long held belief that every surface in a public bathroom is coated in a microscopic layer of the fecal matter of dirty strangers.  I cannot help but quietly chant my public bathroom mantra: Don't touch anything; don't touch anything.  But when Little E asked at a Delaware rest area whether she could touch the floor with the bottoms of her shoes, I told her okay --and I didn't even attempt to sterilize her Crocs when we got to the hotel.


I learn new things about my children --and myself.

Some of the little foibles that my children have displayed this week are harmless. Little E has decided that she is a dog and bought herself a dog bandanna in the bookstore of my alma mater (and wore said bandanna to dinner). Big E likes to practice figure skating moves as we walk down city sidewalks. These little quirks may not be particularly fashion forward or convenient for fellow pedestrians, but I actually find them kind of endearing.  That the lack of Radio Disney in the rental car brings my daughters to tears and that my choosing to leave on a station with "grown up music" is received as a personal insult, is much more concerning and shall be addressed. That I will endure an entire Bonnie Raitt song despite my own distaste for it simply because I enjoy watching both girls scream angrily and cover their ears? That probably needs some exploration as well.

I gain new (more accurate?) perspectives on myself.

The other day as I attempted to cull some of the 200 shots already on my camera, I came across one of myself sitting by the edge of the children's pool at the beach down the street from my in-laws.  My shoulders were slightly slumped and the bathing suit that had looked so strategic in the mirror at home was not living up to its promise. I just barely stopped myself from wailing to my husband, "I look like someone's mother!" Ludicrous, I know, that this is so upsetting, as I have been someone's mother for over seven years now. As the trip went on, my earth shattering revelation that I do in fact look like someone's mother was further cemented by the fact that I carried a purse stuffed with two handfuls of broken and melting restaurant crayons and a barrel of Wet Ones.  Then, the other day in Richmond Little E recoiled in horror as I dressed for the day. "Not that dress!  Don't put on that dress with the flowers!," she cried mortified. 

I ignored her pleas spent the morning in sensible shoes and a flowered dress with a camera case hanging from my shoulder and a mega pack of wipes in my bag, looking every bit like someone's mother at the campus where I long ago wore tight jeans and cute heels carried no more than a lipstick in my pocket .

I'm hoping that these new insights will see me through the rest of the trip, but there are still six days, one flight, 500 miles in the car and countless public toilets to come.  Wish me luck.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Road Trip, Revised

Right now I'm feeling thankful for the surge in the bed bug population, high gas prices and Little E's recent claims of car sickness.

These are the things that convinced me that the road trip I'd planned for this summer was a really bad plan.  When we take off on our summer tour of the hot and humid states, the driving part --the part where I planned to learn to love the journey as much as the destination-- will be truncated by half.

We'll still stop at my husband's parents' beach house at the Jersey Shore, not the fist-pumping part but the part that is apparently referred to as the Irish Riviera.  There we'll negotiate bizarre traffic patterns banning left turns and will feel like underachievers when every other couple we see has at least four children in tow.

We'll still stop in Richmond, where we'll drag the kids around the campus where we met, because, of course, kids love brick buildings and their parents' reminiscences.

And then, and this is the best part, we will get on an airplane and make the rest of the trip to Florida in two hours --a trip that I originally thought would take two days.

I will enjoy sipping from the warm Diet Coke balanced on my knee in my cramped quarters on the plane and I will enjoy watching reality show repeats on the seatback screen. Mostly, I will enjoy hurtling through the air 30,000 feet above the motels along I-95 where I'd have peeled back the sheets and studied the mattress for signs of infestation, above the countless stinking, dingy public toilets I'd have had to endure with the girls, and above the hundred squealing arguments that would have spilled forth from the backseat.

I will, in my way, enjoy the journey as much as the destination.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Eat: The Beach Picnic

Earlier this summer, my husband took a week long class and I spent the week hanging out with the girls. For many mothers all this alone time with the kids is status quo, but I am spoiled by being married to a fellow teacher and so am used to having adult company all summer.

For some reason spending this first week of summer with the girls while he was off learning about globalizing education or some such made me think of Liz Lemon, Tina Fey's character on 30 Rock. She aspires to be like Ina Garten, Food Network's Barefoot Contessa, who, according to Liz, sees her husband only on weekends and spends the rest of the time eating and drinking with her gay friends. Our trip to the zoo and our doughnuts on the beach lacked the understated Hamptons elegance of  Ina's weekdays and my companions weren't nearly as fashionable as hers. Nonetheless, I was inspired.

To celebrate my husband's last day of class the girls and I put together a beach picnic dinner, which seemed very much like something Ina would spend an episode on in eager anticipation of husband Jeffrey's return. We didn't pack a linen tablecloth like I'm sure Ina would have and we burnt the cookies, but we did manage a very tasty steak sandwich and a variation on my old favorite, watermelon salad.

Seared Steak Sandwich with Arugula and Parmesan

2 New York Strip Steaks
Salt and Pepper
About 3 cups of baby arugula
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano (you won't use the whole thing)
loaf of french bread

Preheat the oven to 450.

Pat the steaks dry on all sides and season with salt and pepper.  Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat.  Once it is hot enough that a drop of water sizzles on its surface, add the steaks and sear them for two minutes on each side.

Once you've done this, put the steaks in the heated oven for about 4 minutes.  Remove them from the pan and allow them to rest on a carving board.

Meanwhile, whisk together the oil and vinegar in the bottom of a medium bowl, then add the arugula and toss until it's coated.

Slice the steak on the diagonal into 1/4 inch thick slices, pouring any juices that are released back over the sliced steak.

Cut the bread to the desired size for your sandwiches and pile it with dressed arugula followed by slices of steak.

Finally, use a vegetable peeler along the side of the parmigiano-reggiano to create extremely thin slices to top the steak.

Watermelon with Goat Cheese and Pistachios

1/4 watermelon, cut into bite-sized chunks
2 oz. goat cheese
1 cup of shelled pistachios

Prepare individual salads by dividing the watermelon among four containers. The Barefoot Contessa would use little Mason jars or something equally tasteful; I went for disposable faux-Tupperware.

Crumble goat cheese over the watermelon.

Coarsely chop the pistachios and sprinkle them over the salads.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

To those of you planning a wedding (and those who aren't)

Day 1
To those of you planning a wedding, I know how it goes.  It was just over 11 years ago that I was in your crazed, seating chart-strategizing, favor ribbon-tying place and having just celebrated another anniversary, I've been thinking about it all.

If you're anything like me, you'll spend the year before the big day agonizing over important choices like buffet or sit-down.  You'll search high and low to find the florist who can provide you with the exact color of blue hydrangea that you envision for your bouquet.  You'll try on dresses in white, cream and ivory, ball gowns, sheaths and A-lines, searching for the one that makes you feel beautiful without bankrupting you.  You'll work hard to convince your future mother-in-law that not all justices of the peace are Elvis-impersonators and a DJ can be just as classy as a band but at half the price.

And then the day will actually come.  If yours goes anything like mine, the florist who promised those blue hydrangeas will show up with white and you'll fight back tears until your mother tells her that she'll just have to go back and fix it. Then just before you walk down the aisle, you will fluff the reasonably priced but still flattering dress you settled on, your father will beam proudly at you and then step squarely on the back of it, leaving a muddy size 11 footprint on the ivory train. And it will rain, angry sheets of water deluging the outdoor courtyard that was to be the site of your cocktail hour. A distant cousin will take issue with his table assignment and drunkenly confront your groom, and some middle-aged lady on the groom's side will waste many frames of the disposable camera on her table taking pictures of herself giving the finger. As the evening winds down, the DJ, who promised to keep it classy, will berate guests for not dancing and will sign off by thanking them for their presence and warning them that they better not drive if "shitfaced," and you will feel mortified for all of the little old ladies in the room.

But none of that will actually matter, because you will be celebrating a life-changing event with all of the people who are most important to you (except for your cousin and that lady, who were invited strictly out of obligation). Guests will rave about the beautiful ceremony and pretend not to have noticed that the DJ made efficient use of the open bar. You will wake up the next morning and you will be married (MARRIED!) and the sun will be shining and you'll go home to pack for a honeymoon so exotic that at least three people wondered if you would need to get a lot of shots (and you, always accounting for the thick New England accent where you live, will have told them that actually you were packing long skirts because in some cultures it's considered disrespectful for a woman to show her knees and then you will have wondered why they looked at you so strangely).

You will drive down the highway with your streamers and balloons and "Just Married" sign and people will honk and wave and give you the thumbs up, and you will feel special and happy and excited about everything to come.  And that's a really good thing because, as some of those well-wishers will know, it won't be like this everyday.

There will be more rain, sometimes so much that it pours in through the roof.

There will be things even messier than a footprint on a dress.  There will be clogged toilets and leaking pipes.  There will be the miraculous, bodily fluid-drenched mayhem of childbirth, and there will be diapers and potty seats. And there will be vomit: dog vomit, baby vomit, stomach virus vomit, morning sickness vomit, so much vomit.

There will be things more worthy of tears than the wrong-colored flowers. Sometimes you will watch your children struggle more than you can bear and sometimes they will hurt in a way you can't fix. There will be mortgage applications and job losses, trips to the emergency vet and the emergency room, and there will be funerals and biopsies and nights of wakeful worry followed by days when you don't want to pick your head up off the pillow.

And if you are anything like me, 11 years to the day later you will find yourself at dollar night at the children's museum, because promises were made without regard to the date, because you'd have felt guilty getting a sitter anyway after sending the kids away the weekend before, and because, really, it's just a day no different than the rest. You will be wearing a dress that looked cute on the clearance rack at Marshall's, but which now makes you feel like you've been shopping in your mother-in-law's closet (though your husband will deny this and seem a little disgusted by the suggestion). You will have spent the past week breaking up fights between your kids and trying to manage their suddenly excruciatingly frequent fits and tantrums and you will wish that instead of driving to the children's museum, that echo chamber of whines and screams, you could get into your car drive anywhere else. Alone.  When some sort of kerfuffle breaks out between the children as they are loaded into the car, you may even share this wish as you stand in the driveway, pouting, arms crossed.

But you'll make remarkably good time as you march the children through the museum, and they won't even complain when you skip the gift shop. Only one will demand to be carried on your evening stroll through the city, and the breeze will feel soft on your skin. As the kids watch the harbor seals flopped in their tank outside the aquarium, you'll look up at an orange full moon hovering just above the masts of the boats moored in the harbor you'll know that even though the DJ was a bust and the buffet line got a little backed up, you got the most important choice right.

After 11 years, it mostly matters that you chose the person who will run for the buckets when it starts to rain, help you mop up the vomit when it comes, get your head off the pillow when it wants to stay, and patiently wait out your pout until you calm down and get in the car. And --maybe especially-- the person who thinks you look nothing like his mother and likes it that way.

Day 4,015

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Updating

My husband and I spent Thursday night (our first child-free night in months, as the kids were spending a long weekend at my parents') picking out flooring and fixtures with the contractor we recently hired to do some updating in our bathroom and kitchen. As with much of my child-free time, it was neither relaxing nor romantic.

I grew up in a house where for most of my childhood problems from dysfunctional toilets to stalling cars were solved with a trip to the library for the appropriate how-to guide, a fair amount of cursing, and eventually my father's own hands. After our evening with the contractor, I felt stressed and agitated.  My husband, who grew up in a family where every dilemma from an unhung picture to a burnt out taillight was solved by paying someone, asked me what was wrong. 

"I just want him to like me," I told my husband of the contractor, "and also to think I have good taste."

"You don't need to care whether he likes you," he explained patiently, "that's why we're paying him money."

The next morning, I started in on the ambitious redecorating project I had planned for the girls' room. As I set to work transforming a heap of leftover furniture into a new bedroom "set" for their room, I examined my motives for turning a sunny and responsibility-free summer weekend into an episode of Trading Spaces.  I decided that my sudden DIY fervor was driven by a need to prove my own handiness and self-sufficiency so that I might feel better about hiring someone to remove the faux-tile and crumbling vinyl the previous owners left behind.

Later, after we'd filled a contractor bag with the mountain of neglected stuffed animals and torn up board books that would go out with the trash, I announced urgently for the third time since we'd started cleaning out the room, "We need to have another child." 

Calmly, my husband dared me, "Sure."

In that moment, as I imagined rolling back the clock to pregnancy, infancy, toddler years, I realized what it was all about, all my priming, painting, drilling, decoupaging, for goodness sake.

I cannot keep Big E from drifting toward tween-hood, but I can take the bed I slept in through my teenage years, the one whose scrolly white metal and brass accents seemed impossibly glamorous at the time, and spray it a suitably little girl pink for her.



I cannot keep either of my girls from growing out of their clothes, their shoes, their babyhood, their toddlerhood, and, always on my mind lately, their childhood, but I can use chalkboard paint and casters to make personalizable underbed storage of the drawers from the little dresser that held Big E's 2T dresses and footy pajamas.



I cannot change the fact that Little E outgrew her toddler bed (or that we admitted this to ourselves about a year late), but I can paste her big sister's old headboard with cute puppies and kittens and varnish it over and over to convince myself that she will always love cute doggies just as she does now.



And the butterfly wall decals that I affixed above Big E's bed.  I wish that I could say that they are about embracing transformation or something equally lovely, but really they are about the constant scorekeeping between the girls, the arguing and accusing and fit-throwing that has me feeling like the kind of angry, yelling, furrowed-brow mother that I had never planned to be.  These butterflies are about how miffed I knew Big E would be by Little E's dogs and the frustration that I channeled into my vise grip on the handle of the race car cart as I pushed the squealing, squabbling girls through the endless Home Depot trip to stock up on spray paint and casters and drawer pulls.

Chalkboard paint and decoupage medium won't keep my kids from getting older every day, just as mourning the passage of time won't guarantee that I appreciate each moment I'm in. And having a baby to reset the ticking clock won't forestall all the growing and aging and changing.

And besides, where would he sleep?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Have I told you my superhuman birth story?

Have I told you about the time that I gave birth to a nine-pound baby without any pain medication whatsoever? I probably have.  Well, since we're on the subject, I labored for 24 unmedicated hours, and a few years later I did it again.  But that time it was only a few hours of labor and eight and a half pounds of baby, which is nothing really.

I know that boasting about natural birth experiences is frowned upon and not just because of the mental images it evokes.  Check out any pregnancy and baby websites and you'll see that the debate between the epidural-users and the pain relief-shunners rages just as viciously as the wars between the cloth-diaperers and pampers-lovers, the formula-feeders and the breast-is-besters, and the stay-at-home moms and working mothers.  But I don't brag about my natural birthing exploits to portray myself as a superior mother or to degrade anyone else's life choices. I do it purely out of necessity. I need to prove to the world that I am not an enormous wimp. . . despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

The first time I pulled out the natural birthing defense was when Big E was a baby.  Having spent the five months since her birth fretting over all the ways in which I could tragically screw up the enormous job of being her mother, calling her doctor at odd hours to inquire about imaginary symptoms (including, once, a lopsided head), and chewing my fingernails to nubs, I developed a raging infection on my left index finger.  Because it was Memorial Day weekend and because my doctor was also my daughter's and he'd likely heard enough from me, I was referred to the ER where they told me that they'd have to rip open the abscess with a needle.  As I begged the doctor to numb my hand before he lanced it, I told him about the heroic 24-hour labor that I'd endured mere months earlier as if this had earned me some pain relief.  He smiled politely and told me that even young children manage this procedure without numbing.  I didn't bother to point out that those kids likely hadn't pushed out a 9-pounder.

A few months after Little E's birth, I was conducting the elaborate flossing routine that I'd adopted in place of actually going to the dentist, which I'd been too afraid to do for the previous six years, when I dislodged a giant chunk of filling. I tried to convince myself that I could probably live with the gaping chasm in my molar, but that plan quickly proved ridiculous and I was forced to search out a new dental practice.  I found a lovely new dentist whose office was in walking distance of my house and decorated as if it were where the people who live in the Pottery Barn catalog get their teeth drilled. Her exam room radio was tuned to the same station I listen to in my car and her tiny little hands fit comfortably in my mouth without triggering my very active gag reflex. Naturally, I wanted to impress her and so as I sat shaking in the chair, trying to explain that I was pretty sure the Novocaine wasn't working, I said "I just had a baby a few months ago and I didn't have an epidural or anything, so, you know, it's not that I can't handle some pain." She smiled politely and handed me a copy of Real Simple to read while I waited to feel sufficiently numb.

Last month that same tooth flared up and required a root canal, four years after that original appointment. When my students scoffed at my pleas for kindness in the face of my toothache, I managed to stop myself from baring my badge of birthing honor before I put an unspeakable image in the minds of a roomful of 16-year-old boys. I did, however, mention it a few times to my husband in trying impress upon him the immensity of the pain. To his credit, he just nodded reverently.

A couple weeks ago as I was walking into Target with the girls, Little E stopped short in front of me and I stubbed my flip flop clad little toe against the foam rubber block of her Croc, wrenching my toe at an excruciating angle.  I limped heavily and short-temperedly through the store but managed not to tell any of the horrified onlookers about my previous pain-management feats.  When I got home, though, I spent days speculating to my husband about whether I'd broken my toe, showing off the deep purple bruise that spanned my foot, describing the exact sensation of trying to jog on it (every step as painful as jolt of slamming your finger with a hammer), and, of course, brandishing my birthing badge of honor as proof that I was not being a wimp.

My husband's own pain tolerance resume includes checking back into a soccer game minutes after tearing ligaments in his ankle and staying on the field in another game when he took a hit hard enough to chip the bone in the other ankle, and so I have a grudging respect for him.  When he told me that it could take a few months before it felt all the way better, I asked how he knew this.  When he told me that he was pretty sure he'd broken his toe playing indoor soccer this past winter, an injury that he apparently didn't feel merited mention, I felt a little wimpy about the minute-by-minute updates I'd provided about my own toe pain. I tried to remind myself of my superhuman tolerance for pain, but I was unconvinced.  What is the statute of limitations on the valor of natural childbirth, anyway? I wondered.  At four-and-a-half years, I fear I may be running out of mileage.

Not that the thought crossed my mind, but I decided that disproving my obvious wimpiness is a selfish reason to bring a child into the world, and besides our house is pretty full as it is. Also, there's no guarantee I'd be able to pull off another drug-free labor. I am, after all, kind of a wimp.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Not-So-New Review: The Ten Year Nap by Meg Wolitzer

Some people have the means to pre-order a hardcover copy of every interesting read they hear about and some have the ability to download in an instant any title that strikes their fancy.  I envy those people, but this review isn't for them. It is for the bargain shelf-shopping, interlibrary loan-borrowing, not so of-the-moment, frugal readers like me. Enjoy.


I came across Meg Wolitzer's The Ten Year Nap on the sale rack of a local bookstore on a day when I had cut my already truncated work day even shorter than normal because it was exam week and I was completely caught up on my grading, had already cleaned and organized my desk and had found myself considering redecorating the bulletin board in the closet-like department office where I'm kept. I had stopped at bookstore to pick up a gift certificates for end of the year teacher gifts but started browsing because I had time before I had to get to Little E's daycare. As I strolled through the quiet shelves, I realized that I was out in the world on a sunny June day while most people were stuck at work.  I felt soaringly fortunate but also a little insignificant. It seems improbably serendipitous that I would stumble across a book about just this sort of conundrum for only $3.98, but it's true.

The Ten Year Nap focuses on Amy Lamb and her circle New York City mothers, most of whom she knows from the all-boys private school her 10-year-old son attends, but it also offers quick glimpses into the lives and hearts of a range of women from the mothers of the main characters, to Margaret Thatcher's personal assistant to Georgette Magritte to a casino cashier in South Dakota.  In telling their various stories the novel explores the way women view work and success and how motherhood impacts women's expectations for themselves. 

Wolitzer writes about serious issues with a sense of humor that entertained me but also prompted me to think a lot about my own decisions and motivation.  However, as someone who was raised by a factory worker father and waitress-turned-secretary mother, parents whose work had nothing to do with ego or affluence and everything to do with feeding, clothing and sheltering their children, I wished that Wolitzer had included a more nuanced look at the parenting and relationship issues present when full-time mothering is not an option.

Overlooking or romanticizing the working poor seems prevalent in much of what is written about work and motherhood, though, so I tried not to hold it against Wolitzer. This was made easier by the fact that even if the central characters may not feel entirely relatable to me on the surface, much of what they go through is: the complicated results of pulling off the career track in order to focus on motherhood, the pain of admitting that a child's path might be more difficult than you'd hoped, the unearned resentment that a spouse's success can breed, and the ease with which a person can trick herself into believing that she can have everything she wants even when she can't. 

In addition to touching on universal emotions, Wolitzer also finds the words to express them in a way that makes the familiar feel extraordinary: "You stayed around your children as long as you could, inhaling the ambient gold shavings of their childhood, and at the last minute you tried to see them off into life and hoped that the little piece of time you'd given them was enough to prevent them from one day feeling lonely and afraid and hopeless.  You wouldn't know the outcome for a long time."   Passages like that so eloquently express my own feelings that I found myself feeling a little put out that she could phrase my own thoughts so much better than I ever have.  Stay-at-home mother, lawyer, teacher, waitress or casino cashier, mothers in all their incarnations, I think, can relate to this central truth about the nature of motherhood.

Regardless of my ambivalence about the career choices that had me browsing a bookstore at 11 a.m. on a Monday --or what Meg Wolitzer might think of them-- I'm glad I found The Ten-Year Nap and will be looking for more from her at the library.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Eat: Lobster BLT with tarragon-lemon mayonnaise



The summer after my freshman year in college I stayed with my husband (then my fairly new boyfriend) at his parents house on Long Island for ten days.  There were many awkward moments during that long visit to the home of the people who would one day be my in-laws, including the lobster dinner that inspired this meal.

Back then I was a sort-of vegetarian.  I didn't eat red meat at all, rarely ate chicken and hadn't really taken a stand on seafood; in reality, it was all probably a product of the same food weirdness that had rendered me incapable of eating in front of boys in high school and I eventually grew out of it.  At the time, though, when I pulled up to the table surrounded by my then boyfriend, his two older sisters, his parents and his grandparents, I simply couldn't fathom tying on a plastic bib, tearing a crustacean limb from limb and slurping down its butter-dipped innards, and so I politely declined. His family's ensuing shock, insistence on my eating mounds of salad, and speculation about the motivation behind my pseudo-vegetarianism made me silently vow that I would learn to eat lobster like a grown up, a skill that would have saved me one of the most blushingly uncomfortable meals of my life.

I'm happy to report that I have, in fact, learned to eat lobster, though I mostly stick to the tail and legs and sometimes need some help tearing off the body. So, when my in-laws came to visit last weekend, some 17 years after that first lobster dinner, I decided that I'd serve them lobster on my own terms. I made these sandwiches and served them with corn on the cob, a not-too-heavy-on-the-mayo cole slaw from epicurious.com and beer (UFO White with lemon wedges). And I ate it like a grown up.


Lobster BLTs with tarragon-lemon mayo

For the mayonnaise

1/2 cup of store-bought mayonnaise
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
salt and pepper to taste

For the sandwich

Claw and tail meat from two 1 1/2 pound steamed lobsters (Most grocery stores steam them for free sparing you an unpleasant scene in the kitchen.)
12 slices of good quality bacon
One tomato, sliced thin
Eight leaves of Boston lettuce
Eight thick slices of the bread of your choice, toasted (I used challah; the sweetness worked nicely with the tartness of the tarragon-lemon mayo.)


Combine the ingredients for the mayonnaise a couple of hours before you plan to serve the sandwiches and let it sit in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to come together.

Shell the lobster. Slice the tail meat into 1/4-inch thick discs and roughly chop the claw meat.

Cook the bacon so that it is crisp but not burnt. 

Assemble the sandwiches by slathering the toast with mayo,  piling on lobster and topping it with two leaves of lettuce, three slices of bacon and tomato.

Cut the sandwiches in half on the diagonal and enjoy.