Countless awesome moments followed, ranging from the extraordinary (baby’s first Today appearance!) to those milestones that seem quite ordinary, until they’re happening to you and you’re watching your own child stand or call out to Dada.
Take the time Haley attempted her first, slightly staggering steps. “One day, seriously, she took a nap, she woke up and she started walking,” Kotb relayed to DeGeneres. “Like, I didn’t even know when it happened or how it happened. She was like, ‘Ok, bye!'”
Or when Kotb first heard her belly laugh, a melody she’s since described as the “sweetest sound on the planet.” Even Haley’s teething and the long, restless nights that accompanied it were, well, a joy. As she explained to E! News at the time, “I’ve slept for 53 years.”
While Kotb acknowledges there may be drawbacks to becoming a first-time parent in your fifties, “I don’t even care about those,” she told E! News. “What I know is when you want something and you’ve waited a long time, every second counts. Every moment in time, you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh,’ and you savor it in a way that I’m not 100 percent sure I would have had I been a young mom.” (So take that stranger who felt it appropriate to send Kotb a letter detailing why she felt she shouldn’t have had kids later in life.)