Joanna Gaines is reflecting on her 17-year-old son, Drake, leaving for college. The 44-year-old host of "Fixer Upper" published an essay in Magnolia Journal on Aug. 12, and in it, she wrote about her marriage to husband Chip Gaines as well as the major milestone that is her son leaving home.
"Soon, our oldest son, Drake, will be leaving home for college," she wrote in the essay called "A Note From Jo on Fortitude." "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."
Drake is the oldest of the Gaines's five children. The couple also share Ella, 15; Duke, 14; Emmie Kay, 12; and Crew, 4. In reflecting on her eldest's new chapter, Gaines noted that there might be hard days ahead for her and her husband. "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," she wrote.
She went on to reflect on the nature of change and growth. "What we learn is that life is not about holding out only for the days of brightest possibility. It's not only about finding ourselves a crisp new page," she wrote. "Sometimes, in order to move forward, we have to surrender ourselves to the promise of growth that follows the fall. Easier said than done, yes — one thousand times yes."
"Sometimes, in order to move forward, we have to surrender ourselves to the promise of growth that follows the fall. Easier said than done, yes — one thousand times yes."
Regarding her marriage, she said that it has been full of ups and downs. "We have experienced a little bit of all of it," she wrote. "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, ending with some musings on life's journey in light of the impending autumn. "This year, I'm waiting on fall the same way I always do. I'll watch the sky. I'll listen for rain," she wrote. "But I'll do it all a little more patiently. A little more gratefully, remembering that strength isn't earned in endings or beginnings but in the space I'm forging along the way."
Gaines, a New York Times bestselling author, founded Magnolia Network and hosts "Fixer Upper: Welcome Home" with her husband. The former HGTV stars launched the network in January 2022.