Welcome Home! Hoda Kotb Returns to Studio 1A After Maternity Leave - NBC Chicago
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Welcome Home! Hoda Kotb Returns to Studio 1A After Maternity Leave

The beloved member of our TODAY family is back — and we couldn't be happier to have her here

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    Welcome Home! Hoda Kotb Returns to Studio 1A After Maternity Leave
    Nathan Congleton/TODAY
    Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie on the set of TODAY on Sept. 3, 2019, in New York City.

    She's back!

    Hoda Kotb rejoined Savannah Guthrie and the rest of the gang for joyful TODAY family reunion in Studio 1A Tuesday.

    "Welcome to TODAY this Tuesday morning," came a familiar voice at the top of the show. "Can I say it again? ... I missed saying that."

    And we've missed hearing her say it.

    "I can confirm she's real; she's with us. Hoda is back!," Savannah said. "And everyone is smiling so much just to see (her) face."

    It's true!

    The co-anchor has been absent from her on-air home away from home for more than four months — but she had the very best reason for that. In April, Hoda adopted her second child, a beautiful baby girl named Hope Catherine, and since then, she's taken time to appreciate every precious moment with her new bundle of joy.

    Now that her maternity leave is over, we have the chance to appreciate her presence again. And she certainly seems thrilled to be here.

    "It did feel like Christmas morning a little," she said of the excitement she felt about her big return. "I went to bed last night I popped up at 3:15 and I was like, 'I get to come home!"

     
     
     
     
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    Could. Not. Be. Happier.

    A post shared by Savannah Guthrie (@savannahguthrie) on

    Savannah summed up everyone's feelings about it in a post to Instagram: "Could. Not. Be. Happier."

    But as great as it is to have Hoda back and as much as we've missed her, we're happy she took every minute away she did.

    "It's been probably the greatest summer of my life," the mom of two explained. "I thought I was topped out. Haley is beyond a dream, a wish, a hope, a prayer. And just when I thought everything was to the max, Hope pops in. ... Now, I cannot imagine my life without both of those two little girls."

    So naturally Haley, 2, and little Hope have been her sole focus during her time off.

    "I don't know what has happened in the world. I missed it — and I've missed it happily," Hoda said. "The news of my life has been watching these two little girls change. You blink and it's different."

    After all, as she explained last month in a video visit to the show, stopping to appreciate that is what is truly important.

    "If there’s a window or moment in my life that has mattered more than anything, it’s right now," the 55-year-old said. "I know it's sort of weird that I'm taking this much time, but I just feel like, you know, sometimes in life you don't know how much of your kids' lives you're going to be able see. You just don't know. But I was saying to myself, 'I'm not going to miss right now.'"

    She added that she, partner Joel Schiffman, Haley and little Hope have repeated the same routines over and over again since she's been away — from morning bubbles outside to walking to the bakery for a muffin. It's left her feeling as though they've lived one day on repeat all summer.

    "Like it's the same day, but it's awesome," she said. "It's the most awesome day ever."

    Tuesday marked the dawn of a new one — and it was pretty awesome, too!

    This story first appeared on TODAY.com. More from TODAY: