Joanna Gaines Reflects on Son Drake, 17, Leaving Home for College: 'It Can Feel Like a Loss'

"In the grand scheme of heartbreaking things, this one comes with a lot of gratitude and excitement," Joanna writes in the fall issue of Magnolia Journal

Photo: Magnolia

Joanna Gaines is having her first baby leave the nest.

In a personal essay for the fall issue of Magnolia Journal, out Friday, the 44-year-old Fixer Upper star reflected on nearly 20 years of marriage with husband Chip Gaines ahead of their son Drake, 17, leaving for college.

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

"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."

Looking back on her marriage, Joanna says that she and Chip "have experienced a little bit of all of it."

"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," she continues.

Thinking of her new normal ahead, Joanna says, "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."

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The Fall issue of Magnolia Journal, available August 12, 2022
River Jordan/Magnolia Journal

Joanna and Chip are also parents to Crew, 4, Emmie Kay, 12, Duke, 14 and Ella, 15.

Last week, Joanna shared a sweet side-by-side photo of her son Crew on Instagram. In the first photo, a sleeping infant Crew is wrapped in a pale blanket. On the right is a photo of Crew today, wrapped similarly in a blanket with his hair and the top half of his face peeking out.

"Babies don't keep," the mom of five joked in the caption. "Just pretending this FOUR year old is still a baby."

Joanna Gaines, crew gaines
Joanna Gaines/Instagram

In June, Joanna shared a photo herself and Chip to celebrate their 19th wedding anniversary. In the sweet picture, they're cozying up in a shiny black dining booth.

"19 years ❤️," Joanna captioned the Instagram post. To close out the special sentiment, she added a hashtag that says, "I like you a lot."

Earlier this year, the Magnolia Network stars announced a new dream project — their new show, Fixer Upper: Welcome Home - The Castle. In the eight-episode limited series, debuting in September, they'll be renovating a 100-year-old Waco castle they've been trying to buy for 20 years — even longer than their years of marriage!

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