Tears of joy as five little miracles take their first steps through school gates
THIS time five years ago, they clung to life in the Rotunda Hospital, five tiny miracles born three months premature and each weighing less than a bag of sugar.
This morning, the Cassidy quintuplets marked another major milestone in their lives as they waved goodbye to their parents and walked through the school gates for the first time.
Conor, Rory, Amy, Cian and Derbhail, who celebrated their fifth birthday on August 16, have been eagerly awaiting their first day at school, looking forward to meeting their new teacher and classmates at SC Nais Realta na Mara in Kilmore, Co Wexford.
But for Mum and Dad, Kevin and Veronica, it will be a day of bitter-sweet emotions.
"To think that they have made it all this way is just incredible," Veronica said last night as she completed final preparations on the five neatly pressed uniforms and schoolbags.
"The last five years have been a blur. I don't know where the time has gone, but we are so proud of them. They are all so happy and healthy. But when I think of leaving them at the school-gates, I just start to cry because I'm going to miss them so much. It will be such an emotional wrench having rarely been parted from them in the last five years."
As anxious parents sending their children to school, it will be an emotional day for the Cassidys.
Veronica pointed out: "It is hard enough watching one child starting school for the first time, but having to watch five wave goodbye at the same time is unimaginable.
"Of course you worry about them. Will they be bullied or will they be able to stay ahead? We know they will take care of each other.
"That's the lovely thing about them. They are so close. There is a real bond between them. Whenever they are apart from each other they are always so happy to be back together."
Since their birth, the Cassidy home has been run with tight precision, with parents, grandparents, neighbours and friends drafted in to help.
Veronica said: "We make sure they each have one-to-one time with us. They are five different characters and we have tried to make them feel as individual as possible."