HOUSTON — It’s an event that’s been in the planning stages for 18 years. On Sunday, the DiLullo quintuplets will graduate from Houston High School.
Daniel, John, Angelina, Lauren and James, all 18, captivated Shelby County residents when they became the first quintuplets born to parents in Shelby County. They were born on Jan. 18, 2000, in Miami Valley Hospital, Dayton. They have one older sibling, Anthony, 20, who was 2 years old when they were born.
“Life raising six children has been an adventure unlike any I could have ever anticipated,” said mom Michelle DiLullo. “Every day has brought interesting and distinct challenges to my life. I needed to prepare in advance for upcoming milestones so that I was ready for the magnitude of that event when it occurred.”
When the quints were born, the family moved in with Michelle’s parents, Marion and Virginia Leapley, of Sidney. Their home was remodeled to handle the growing family.
“For two years I had daily help from wonderful, caring volunteers like my neighbors, relatives, church family and my parents,” said Michelle. “As the children grew, I taught them skills that allowed them to be independent and to work together as a family.
“Our household chores were completed as a family,” she said. “I often had toddlers pushing the vacuum while several others clutched dust cloths polishing the furniture. The kids had fun working with Grandpa in the yard, mowing, trimming hedges, planting and harvesting in the garden. One time the boys were sent to the garden to pick the peas. They returned with an empty pan. They had picked the plants clean and had eaten all the sugar snap peas!”
Family outings, she said, started small and grew with all six children.
“When it came time to do grocery shopping, I would take one child with me at a time,” said Michelle. “This gave me the chance to share with them the technique of shopping for bargains.
“Our outings with the six began early on,” she said. “Two triplet strollers found us at the mall, the zoo, the library, the park and restaurants. Giving the children social time and experiences outside the home were beneficial to their personal growth.”
Michelle said raising six children has been a continual surprise for her.
“Everything has been a surprise, because I have not experienced anything like this nor have I had anything with which to compare,” she said.
Michelle has encouraged each of her children to be responsible, independent and unique.
“All of the kids have experienced their first jobs,” said Michelle. “They have saved their money and some have purchased their first cars. Being able to pay for their cars, the gas and their own insurance was a prerequisite for ownership of their vehicles.
“They now do their own maintenance and repairs which they learned from Grandpa,” she said. “Since my father’s passing two years ago, a neighbor friend took the boys under his wing and has taught them much more about their care of their vehicles.”
Mom describes her children
“Their individual personalities have been prevalent for most of their lives,” said Michelle. “Just because they were born on the same day, doesn’t mean that they are the same type of child.”
Daniel is the first born of the quintuplets. He was born at 7:27 a.m. and weighed 2 pounds, 10 1/2 ounces.
“Daniel has always had a peaceful, quiet demeanor about him,” said Michelle. “He is loyal, thoughtful and dependable in all that he does. Daniel has fun with his friends, enjoys talking about sports and having a good laugh with his brothers.”
Quintuplet No. 2 is John, who was born at 7:28 a.m. and weighed 2 pounds, 8 1/2 ounces.
“John has always tried doing things a little differently,” said Michelle. “Even when he crawled, John would do the ‘Mowgli,’ walking with hands and feet planted squarely on the floor. John is creative, loves working with his hands and is a great problem solver.
Angelina is the first girl born to the family and No. 3 in birth order of the quintuplets. She was born at 7:29 a.m. and weighed 3 pounds, 3 1/2 ounces.
“Angelina has been my reader,” said Michelle. “She loves to get away from the hustle of the home when everyone else is actively doing something. She is diligent, faithful and compassionate. Everyone that she encounters takes away something positive with them.”
The fourth quintuplet born was Lauren. She was born at 7:30 a.m. and weighed 3 pounds, 1 1/2 ounces.
“Lauren has been my go-getter,” said Michelle. “She is determined, tactful and loving. Lauren is quick to accomplish something and loves to help kids in need.”
The youngest of the quintuplets is James, who was born at 7:32 a.m. and weighed 3 pounds, 3 1/4 ounces.
“James has always been assertive,” said Michelle. “James is always active. He is a leader, driven, goal oriented and bold. Most teachers will also tell you he is a class clown and instigator.
“All the children are very independent, possibly due to the fact that I am not a helicopter mom,” she said. “Their distinctively different personalities require me to deal with each one in a different manner.”
With their high school graduation Sunday, all five a preparing for their college education.
“With college in their futures, I will soon be faced with an empty nest,” said Michelle. “How I deal with that syndrome is yet to be realized. Since Anthony is still living at home and working, I will actually not have an empty nest just yet.”
Daniel will be attending Ohio State University, Lima campus, where he will major in business. John will be starting at the University of Northwestern Ohio, where he will study automotive technologies.
Angelina will be attending Ball State University, majoring in pre-med. Lauren has chosen nursing at Ohio State University, Lima campus. James will be going to Ohio Northern University, where he will major in mechanical engineering.
“Eighteen years have flown by rapidly,” said Michelle, “yet at times, a day can seem like a thousand years when dealing with quints. We’ve had a wonderful, full, busy life managing each moment with the help of God by our side. With His guidance, we will continue to follow His lead and be the family He wants us to be.”
From a quintuplet’s point of view
Ask the same question of five people and you’ll get five different answers (usually). Various questions were asked of the five siblings.
What’s the best thing about being a quintuplet?
Lauren: “I always have someone there to talk to and do things with.”
Angelina: “Growing up with siblings my own age is a little crazy, but still a lot of fun. We’re all so different and opinionated, that it gets chaotic at times. No matter what happens, we’re each other’s best friend at the end of the day. That’s the best part about being a quintuplet — there’s never a dull moment and there is always someone to talk to and relate to.”
John: “Always have someone to talk to.”
James: “It’s unique and always having someone to talk to”
What’s the worst thing about being a quintuplet?
Lauren: “Always having to share!”
Angelina: “The worst part about being a quintuplet is getting into an argument with each other, but that comes along with having siblings.”
Daniel: “Always being able to do something with your siblings.”
John: “Always around them.”
What is the same about you and your siblings?
Lauren: “There is nothing the same about us. We are all different in our own ways. Angelina is smart and calm. Daniel is quiet and strong. James is goofy and a hard worker. John is reckless and easy to talk to. Growing up with siblings my own age allows you to never be alone. I stick up for my siblings and hope that they would do the same. If one person is on your nerves, you always have someone else to hang out with.”
Angelina: “It’s hard when people try to compare us because we are so different and unique. We’re more of individuals who just happen to share a birthday.”
John: “Nothing except our birthdays. Our personalities, interests and humor is all different.”
Each of the siblings was asked who is the funniest, most serious, best student, best athlete and best sibling.
Lauren says James is the funniest. She thinks Angelina is the best student and most serious. Daniel is the best athlete, while John is the best sibling.
Angelina thinks Lauren is secretly the funniest. The most serious is Daniel, “but we all have our serious moments. Best student? “Me, sorry guys.” The best athlete is James, “simply because he was in cross country, basketball and track this year.” The best sibling is John because “he’s really easy to talk to and fun to be around.”
John feels James is the funniest, most serious, best athlete and best sibling. The best student is Angelina.
James thinks Angelina is the most serious. And he’s tapped himself as the funniest, best student, best athlete and best sibling.