Hoda Kotb didn’t take long to reach for the tissues upon returning to the anchor desk on Today.
The new mom — who recently adopted daughter Haley Joy, now 8 weeks old — returned to the NBC morning show on Monday, and co-host Matt Lauer immediately placed a box of tissues in front of Kotb as he and Savannah Guthrie welcomed her back.
“I’ve been a mess,” Kotb, 52, said. “I’m a little bit afraid I might explode into tears.”
She added that she had cried upon seeing various members of the cast and crew again.
“I saw everyone and I’m blubbering like a baby,” the anchor shared.
Although she was clearly getting emotional, Kotb said that they were tears of joy.
“I’m feeling great. I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy,” she said, giving in and grabbing a tissue.
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Fans at Rockefeller Plaza welcomed the new mother back with hugs.
Kotb revealed that although it was hard to leave her baby at home, she was thrilled to return to work.
“There’s something about when you look into the eyes of people who are just happy for you that makes me explode,” she said. “I feel so blessed to be able to have this great family and a little girl at home waiting for me.”
“When I look at her, I see forever — I see past me,” she said through tears. “I see the future … which I guess I never saw [before].”
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Kotb is raising her baby girl alongside longtime boyfriend, 58-year-old financier Joel Schiffman, whom Haley will call “Dad.”
The new mom adds that she just wants her daughter to feel love from all around her — something that is definitely already happening, and as such isn’t anything Kotb will likely ever have to worry about.
Continues Kotb, “I don’t think she’s gonna know what to do with all the love.”