Hoda Kotb makes 'Today' cameo, explains why she's not back from maternity leave yet: 'I'm not going to miss right now'

Suzy Byrne
Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

For one day only, Hoda Kotb was back on the Today show.

The co-anchor — who has been missed by fans during her maternity leave, which began in April after she adopted her second daughter, Hope Catherine — made a special cameo on the show Friday morning. While she misses her colleagues, she made it clear she’s loving her bonding time with her two girls.

“I’ve lived 54 years and l’ve loved every minute of it, but if there’s a window or moment in my life that has mattered more than anything, it’s right now,” gushed the always sunny star.

To those wondering why she’s not back at work yet — she’s been gone three-and-a-half months — she said, “I know it’s sort of weird that I’m taking this much time, but I was saying to myself: I’m not going to miss right now.”

Kotb, who is raising daughters Hope Catherine and 2-year-old Haley Joy with her longtime partner, Joel Schiffman, said that being home with her kids is very different than her work life, where she’s reporting on breaking news and chatting with different guests each day.

“Every day we do the same thing — and it’s so dumb,” Kotb said of the beautiful monotony of everyday life she’s experiencing. “We have morning bubbles outside, we go to the muffin store. We burp Hope. It’s the same day — but it’s awesome. It’s the most awesome day ever.”

And the girls are getting along very well. Kotb said that as soon as Haley wakes up each day, she says, "‘I want to kiss baby Hope.’" And whenever Hope cries, it’s Haley to the rescue. “She’s like: Don’t worry, Hope — I’m coming!’” and the 2-year-old runs up the stairs to take care of her.

“Again, this is a moment in time that I’m trying to freeze,” Kotb said. “I’m trying to remember everything. I look around and look at what they’re doing. Because I feel like we miss so much of our kids’ lives — and I will again in a little bit, we all do and that’s life — but sometimes you get a window that you don’t miss. This is my tiny kind of moment, I guess.”

Kotb said Joel, who she called a “saint,” has been enjoying it too. She said she “hit the jackpot” with him.

Kotb’s appearance was two-fold. In addition to saying hi to her fans, she also announced she has an inspirational book, I Really Needed This Today, coming out in October. She’s known for sharing the positive quotes on her social media — and now they’ll be in a book along with little stories.

“It’s to give you a boost when you go out and start your day,” she said.

Kotb didn’t give an exact return date. Her co-star for the 10 o'clock hour, Jenna Bush Hager, is due to give birth any day now. Kotb made an appearance at Bush Hager’s baby shower earlier this week.

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