Family friendly

graying new york

BY MARCIA EPSTEIN

Last week I took my “kids” (They are 44 and 47) out for dinner for my younger daughter’s birthday. This, folks, is what the joy of parenthood comes down to: laughing and talking with your adult children and knowing that all is on the right track. On and off over the years, we’ve had plenty of issues. I didn’t talk to one daughter for years, and had disagreements and periods of silence with the other.

But none of us wanted that kind of situation to go on forever, and now we’re in a good space. My feeling is that it will last. Without going into personal details, I can only say that I think we’ve all come to terms with each other’s faults and good points, that we all love each other, and that the time of friction is over (crossed fingers). I’m not young anymore, and I have four grandchildren.

I own my part of the problems we had and have done what I can do make things better. My family is very important to me and the grandchildren are still young. They need a cohesive family, and so do I. There’s so much in the world to be sad and angry about, I no longer have the energy or desire to be out of communication with the people I love most.

It takes patience and forbearance to overlook annoyances, and the desire of all concerned to accept differences, to make any relationship work. The adult child/parent relationship is no different. But it’s worth it, so very worth it. I looked at my beautiful daughters and thanked the powers that be that we were laughing and having fun, and were in such a good space at last.

I have a serious case of PESS (Post Election Stress Syndrome). I’m a TV news junkie and can spend hours switching between MSNBC and CNN just to hear the same stories over and over again. When I told my psychiatrist that I was worried about being more depressed, he asked me if I watched a lot of news. His prescription was to stop, cold turkey! Also to watch Steve Colbert. He told me that many of his patients were complaining of the same thing, and that watching or reading too many news stories about our present political situation was causing stress and depression in many people. I don’t know if I can do it cold turkey, but I’m going to taper off. It’s back to my books and crossword puzzles and goodbye Wolf Blitzer and Rachel Maddow. Maybe I’ll sneak in a little bit of Chuck Todd. I can’t give up Chuck entirely. I’ll keep you posted on whether it works.

There’s a new permanent home for an experimental theater group on the Upper West Side, in the basement of a hostel on West 106th Street. Ildiko Nemeth has been using different performance spaces for many years, but finally she’s found a place of her own. The New Stage Theatre Company performs alternative theater pieces and on April 7 her inaugural performance premiered in her new space — a multimedia theater piece based on a Charles Mee play. It’s a smallish space, seating no more than 50, but Nemeth is thrilled. She plans to have a variety of cultural programming for Upper West Siders for family-friendly and alternative works. She also plans to work with the puppet theater company Loco 7 to produce shows and workshops for children. Tickets are $18 and $15 for students and seniors. Find it at www.newstagetheater.org.

It’s time to stow the heavy sweaters and boots. Aside from eschewing the news, I’m going to find the daffodils and take a big, long sniff of spring air. Let’s find happiness wherever we can. It’s all we can do right now.