Hoda and Jenna/Instagram
Hoda Kotb got to enjoy a special birthday surprise with her daughters by her side.
The Today co-host, 57, was treated to a surprise by co-host Jenna Bush Hager and their team during Friday's episode of the show ahead of her birthday on Tuesday.
First, Bush Hager gifted Kotb a boogie board, "because I want you to keep riding that wave!" Then, a birthday cake was brought out by a special guest, Kotb-family favorite country artist Walker Hayes. After they sang happy birthday, Kotb addressed the country singer with tears in her eyes.
"First of all, I adore you. And now my daughters, Haley and Hope, have started calling each other 'Walker Hayes.' I tried to FaceTime you one time when you claimed you were at the pool because my girls were going, 'I'm Walker Hayes,' 'No I'm Walker Hayes,' " Kotb said with a laugh.
"They used to fight over who was going to be Hoda or Jenna, but not anymore. Now they have both claimed you. I am so happy you are here. You just brighten anyone's day."
Later, Haley and Hope joined their mom as she introduced Walker's performance and watched along as he performed their favorite song "Fancy Like."
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Last month, Kotb shared a sweet story about giving back that centered around her older daughter,
Kotb explained that Haley has a chore chart where she gets a quarter for each chore she gets done, like making her bed.
Once Haley had saved up some money, Kotb asked her what she wanted to do with it. After briefly considering a dollhouse, the kindergartener came up with an idea she liked better.
"I want to buy an ice cream cone for Mo," Haley told Kotb, referring to a man who runs a restaurant in their neighborhood.
After calling him and asking his favorite flavor, the girls met Mo at the ice cream shop, where Haley treated him to a cone.
"She took her money out of her Ziploc and she got the biggest hug," the proud mom shared. "Afterwards, we sat down — Hope, Haley, me and Mo and he said, 'Do you know why this cone is extra special today? And Haley said, 'Why?' And he said, 'Because it's my birthday.' "
Kotb explained how the good deed made her think about how important it is to be kind. "I was just thinking, like when you do something kind, the universe cooperates," she said.
Hoda and Jenna/Instagram
Kotb shares Hope and Haley with ex-fiancé Joel Schiffman. The pair began dating quietly for a couple of years before going public in 2015. The couple announced their engagement in November 2019 but ultimately announced their split in January 2022.
Kotb got candid about the "scary" reality of being an older mom in May during an episode of Today with Hoda & Jenna, explaining that she often thinks about "how much time you have."
"As an older mom, I think there are a lot of beautiful parts and challenges too. I see all the good parts about being an older mom," she said. "Like, I'm in my own skin, I know who I am, I've got much more patience and love and all that stuff. But along with that also comes the fact that you're an older mother."