Credit: Debby Waldman
Covid-19 is not a blessing in any way. It is a global tragedy that won’t soon be forgotten, and will become a massive part of of our history books in the years to come. That being said, it isn’t a bad thing to find a silver lining to make these times a little easier to stomach.
For some people, time spent with family members that they otherwise would not have spent together is something to be cherished. Between work, school, and other events, life can pass us by in a blink. For some people, the time spent at home has allowed them to slow down and really take stock of the things that matter.
But Debby Waldman hasn’t taken life for granted for some time now. Three years ago, her son, Noah, spent months in a hospital after slipping into a deep depression and struggling through a suicide attempt. As not only a mother, but a child who lost a parent to suicide, Waldman was terrified and thankful for every day she had with her son.
Though he was living at home, it wasn’t until Covid-19 hit in May that they truly had nothing (much) to do other than spend time with one another. With Noah’s upcoming job postponed, Waldman suggested he build that canoe he’s been talking about to occupy his time, and even bought him a router and table saw for his graduation present.
Noah visited lumberyards and hardware stores in search of supplies. He enlisted the help of other, unemployed friends to create something worth his time. Suddenly, the Waldman garage became a workshop, and Debby Waldman found herself interested.
It started by taking breaks from work to hold strips in place, or glue. Sometimes she’d bring the friends food. Other times, she’s help varnish wood. Little by little, Noah began teaching his mother how to do tasks here and there. When she asked him if he could help her made a cutting board like one of her cousins made her once, his response was an easy affirmative.
The picked out lumber together. They contacted her cousin for advice, glued and sanded the material together, and eventually got access to a friend’s workshop for more tools. Suddenly mother and son were spending hours together they otherwise wouldn’t have, creating something simple and beautiful.
Since mid-June, Debby and Noah hade made over two dozen cutting boards. Their interests compliment each other– he likes to use the power tools, and she likes planning patterns or sanding– but they are always happy to help one another when needed.
Creating these cutting boards together serves several purposes. It’s a way to be creative. It’s a way to use their hands and machinery they otherwise wouldn’t have. Most importantly, it’s a way for Noah and Debby to bond over something they are equally passionate about. It’s a way for them to learn about one another in a way they may not have otherwise.
Covid-19 has been difficult for everyone, but it has also allowed everyone to unlock something– whether it’s a new interest, or a new understanding of someone. For Debby Waldman, every one of these moments are precious.