Joanna Gaines is experiencing a “first” for many parents. This year, the reality TV star is facing the bittersweet moment of sending her oldest child off to college. At the same time, Gaines is also coming to terms with the fact that her youngest is no longer a baby.
Going Through Many ‘Firsts’ As Parents
All of us parents have gone through “firsts” with our kids. If we’re lucky, we experience the moment our kids take their first steps or say their first words. We then get to experience our children going to preschool or elementary school for the first time. As our kids get older, we watch them get their driver’s license, graduate from high school, and even head off to college.
The home renovation star is going through many of these firsts with her kids. In fact, Gaines is having the unique experience of going through a major milestone with both her oldest child and youngest child. Gaines has five children with her husband, Chip—Drake, 17, Ella, 16, Duke, 14, Emmie, 12, and Crew, 4. Due to the 13-year age difference between Drake and Crew, she’s experiencing very different moments with her children.
In an essay Gaines published in Magnolia Journal, the mom of five opened up about what it’s like to be in such different stages with her kids. As she reflects on Drake moving out, Gaines shares, “Soon, our oldest son, Drake, will be leaving home for college. 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.”
Even with the loss of her oldest going to college, Gaines knows that she may simultaneously go through milestones with her other children. In fact, she recently shared on Instagram how her youngest, Crew, is no longer a baby. In the post, Gaines shows pictures side-by-side of Crew as an infant and 4 year old. She shared, “Babies don’t keep. Just pretending this FOUR year old is still a baby.”
‘I’m The Mom. I Should Have The Answers.’
In a recent interview with People, Gaines shared even more about what it’s like to be a mother of five. The TV star opened up about how being vulnerable ultimately helps her be a good mom to her kids. This is something Gaines had to learn through experience.
“I always thought, ‘I’m the mom, I should have the answers,’” she explained. Now, Gaines realizes that there’s a better way. “The older I’ve gotten, I’ve realized the more humanity these kids can see in me, the more we’re going to connect,” she admitted. “I want them to see the highs and lows, so when they’re feeling anxieties about school or relationships, they know it’s a safe place for them to come to me.”
Now that she has children in very different life stages, she’s also aware of being present in each moment. “When [Drake] was Crew’s age, people would look at me and say, ‘Oh, you better hold on tight. It goes by fast,'” she said. “Now, being a mother of a 4 year old and an almost 18 year old, it’s a constant reminder to not take these moments for granted.”