Joanna Gaines Prepares to Send Her Son to College: ‘My First Child Is Moving Away’

Chip and Joanna Gaines are bracing themselves for a big life moment. Their eldest child, Drake, is about to leave home and attend college. Joanna says she feels mixed emotions as she prepares for this day. She is happy to see her son growing up and becoming his own person, but she’s sad to see one of her children leaving home. Here’s what the Fixer Upper star shared in her Magnolia Journal essay.

Chip and Joanna Gaines have weathered many storms

Chip and Joanna Gaines sit next to each other during a radio show with Today's Hoda Kotb.
Chip and Joanna Gaines | Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Joanna says she and Chip have been through a lot together. She says life’s struggles have prepared them to do one of the toughest things a parent must do—send their child away for school.

“In our 20 years of marriage, Chip and I have experienced a little bit of all of it,” says Joanna in Magnolia Journal. “Losing a loved one. Shifts in friendships. Bills we couldn’t pay. Moments where our hearts were broken. Times when all hope felt lost, and circumstances were out of our control. When all I could think to do was lay facedown on the floor in surrender.”

Chip and Joanna Gaines prepare to send Drake to college

Joanna says sending her son off to college can be considered a “heartbreaking” moment, but she also feels a lot of excitement about his next chapter in life.

“Soon, our oldest son, Drake, will be leaving home for college,” says Joanna. “In the grand scheme of heartbreaking things, this one comes with a lot of gratitude and excitement.”

Although Chip and Joanna are excited about Drake’s accomplishment, they are still said to see him leave the nest. “But still, my first child is moving away, and our family dynamic will change because of it, and that can feel like a loss of its own. I catch glimpses now of what that life will look like and wonder if—or how many times—that might bring me to the floor.”

Joanna Gaines cried when Drake got his driver’s license

According to Chip, Joanna also became emotional when Drake got his driver’s license. It was overwhelming for her to see her child grow up right before her eyes.

“I was so excited leading up to it, and Jo was too, kind of,” Chip tells People. “Then we get this kid his license, and the first morning he goes to drive, Jo bawls her eyes out. She was just devastated and wanted no part. She wants to hire him a chauffeur!”

Joanna was also emotional when Drake got his learner’s permit. She posted about the event on her Instagram page.

“Drake waited in line for an hour and finally got called up to get his drivers permit and then my 15-year-old little boy drove home with Chip and all of a sudden he is all grown up,” wrote Joanna.

The Magnolia Network star marveled at how her youngest and eldest and youngest sons are at two different stages in their lives, but the emotions she feels are similar.

“It’s crazy because this morning I spent most of my time teaching Crew how to go up and down the stairs because he is still so wobbly,” says Joanna. “He used to reach for my hand when climbing the stairs so I could help him and now he insists on doing it himself. The gap between these two circumstances with my boys is wide but the feeling on both is somehow the same. So many hard and beautiful moments of beginnings and ends.”

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