Siblings can still be together, no matter how far apart

Andy Ouriel and Andy Ouriel

I only get to see my sister Wendy a couple days out of the year now.

It’s unfortunate I can’t visit her more because of school. With me in northwest Ohio and her studying in southern California in Anaheim, our schedules rarely match up to catch up. In fact, she has never been to the University, which means she hasn’t participated in a single Sibs-N-Kids Weekend with me.

School is the 2,200-mile gap separating what was once an inseparable bond between two siblings born 10 months apart.

This weekend has me reminiscing about childhood memories. Among the bickering, verbal abuse and feuds, my sister and I remained allies throughout the years. We braved through the perils of our adolescence together.

After being served a less-than-desirable dish of “Chicken a la King” cooked by our grandmother, the two of us plotted our first JIC. The keyword, which spells out “just in case,” would signal the master plot to bypass dinner. We would later conspire as to what fast food establishment we could jet to as quickly as possible.

Hebrew School was a drag because it was more after grade school. The culmination of a young person’s Jewish studies is a Bar Mitzvah and I thank my lucky stars that I was able to split the reading portion with her. It was half the work, yet twice the fun after an all-out party honoring the two of us — together.

We also had a lot of fun with one another.

I remember drenching ourselves with water with a garden hose, pretending to be drowning. Even though the passers-by had no clue what we were doing, we thought it was the funniest thing ever.

We were together when we first saw and picked up our two dogs Phyllis, a basset hound, and Lilly, a sheltie. We used to double-team them, rubbing their stomachs fast and hard. Four hands were truly better than two as indicated by their tails.

Whether it was T-Ball, bowling leagues, Halloween or trips to our favorite corner store, Fred and Rogers, for Combos and white cheddar popcorn, we were inseparable.

Those days are long gone, but it doesn’t mean we can’t cherish them.

I make it a point to call my sister on a regular basis. Even though our conversations graduated from the backyard to the telephone today, we still talk about goofy topics like we did 15 years ago. Even if the call or text message is just to say hello, that is fine with me. As long as I know she is doing OK.

There is something else that has changed.

I know I appreciate my sister for who she is, something I didn’t realize when I was younger. Wendy is one of the most intelligent people I know. She is brilliant and bright to go along with my brass and wittiness. It’s a good mix.

One promise I made for myself is to visit my sister more frequently regardless of where she lives. I’m going to visit her this summer and looking forward to it.

At some point during Sibs-N-Kids Weekend take a minute and really be thankful your brother or sister is here spending a couple of days with you. It might not mean a lot to you, but to them, it could be a weekend they’ll never forget.

When I venture to California this summer, I hope to make some more memories and add to our collection. I’m looking forward to it.