Chip and Joanna Gaines Open Up About Emotions Ahead of Son’s Senior Year

by Alex Falls

Chip and Joanna Gaines have made an empire out of changing lives through home renovations and their brand of Magnolia Farms. But the couple has lives of their own that continue to evolve and change.

As fans of Fixer Upper now, in addition to several business dealings, the Gaines also have a large family. The power couple recently opened up to People about how their family is changing as their beloved children get older and move into their next phases of life.

“Five babies, one that just started his senior year of high school,” Chip said. “So we’re freaking out about that. Jo’s been an emotional wreck. You can quote me on that.”

Their oldest son, Drake, 17, is finally taking on his final year of high school. Chip said it’s something of a full-circle moment. He remembers the first day of kindergarten like it was yesterday.

“She sees Drake off to his first day of school, which in kindergarten, it makes sense that you get really emotional,” Chip said. “Your senior year, this is a celebratory moment.”

Joanna Gaines knows this is a moment to celebrate, but she’s also fully aware of the gravity that comes with seeing a son coming to senior year.

“I think for us, it’s the realization that we’re this tight little family unit and we’re a bigger family,” Joanna said. “There’s seven of us, but knowing the second that one baby leaves, it changes that dynamic.”

The Gaines Family Prepare For Big Changes

Chip adds that seeing their son reach such a milestone brings a lot of pride as a parent. “I think like anything, we’ve done our job,” Chip said. “And now with this little boy, man, whatever he is, it’s going to be exciting to see what he becomes and I think it’s healthy.”

As much as Joanna Gaines loves to see her children grow up and achieve new goals, she’s still blown away by how time passes. “I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, I remember him being a baby and then how did this happen?'” Joanna said. “So that’s where, for us, it’s like, how do you slow down time? Because we know time actually doesn’t slow down.”

“But when you choose and you’re intentional about what it is you do during the day and how you spend your evenings in some, I think unique way, you can actually slow time down and really savor those moments,” Joanna continues. “That’s what we’re really wanting to do, is pay attention and say, ‘Hey, this last year we held it well and go on. Go on, young man. Go do something amazing.’ But I want to hold it well.”

After senior year usually comes one thing. The first year of college. The Gaines family is already facing that monumental moment for Drake as they make the preparations for that major chapter.

“In the grand scheme of heartbreaking things, this one comes with a lot of gratitude and excitement,” Joanna said. “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.”