“She sees Drake off to his first day of school, which in kindergarten, it makes sense that you get really emotional,” Chip, 47, told People on Thursday, August 25, referring to his wife, 44. “Your senior year, this is a celebratory moment.”
Joanna then chimed in to note, “I think for us, it’s the realization that we’re this tight little family unit and we’re a bigger family. There’s seven of us, but knowing the second that one baby leaves, it changes that dynamic.”
“I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, I remember him being a baby and then how did this happen?’” the Kansas native added. “So that’s where, for us, it’s like, ‘how do you slow down time?’ Because we know time actually doesn’t slow down.”
Although she addressed how difficult it is for them as parents, Joanna explained how she found a way to stop time from passing too quickly.
“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 [in a] unique way, you can actually slow time down and really savor those moments,” she concluded. “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.”
Chip then noted that they’ve “done [their] job” as parents, adding that “it’s going to be exciting to see what he becomes and I think it’s healthy.”
This wasn’t the first time the HGTV couple has opened up about the soon-to-be college freshman. Joanna went into detail about her feelings on the matter in a mid-August essay for the Magnolia Journal, citing her son’s upcoming departure as a “loss.”
“Soon, our oldest son, Drake, will be leaving home for college,” she wrote. “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. 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.”
Nevertheless, Joanna ensured that she is maintaining a positive outlook on her eldest child’s growth, in addition to any other changes the Gaines family has faced.
“What we learn is that life is not about holding out only for the days of brightest possibility,” she continued. “It’s not only about finding ourselves a crisp new page. 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.”