Knowing once upon a time I was just a wee lass who loved from afar, it arrived as no typhoon in my life when my daughter had her first schoolgirl crush. The recipient of her amore puzzled me. She didn’t have the Bieber Fever, nor was it someone with the last name of Jonas she swooned over. My daughter announced her mad love for—ahem—Matt Lauer.
It all began innocently enough when Gracie was four-years-old. My effervescent blonde daughter catapulted under the covers and watched the end of the Indianapolis NBC news affiliate with me each weekday morning while I was still in bed. After WTHR signed off, we’d digest the first twenty minutes of headlines on The Today Show together. At first I believed her morning presence had everything to do with snuggling with me. Also possible: Gracie was cultivating a keen interest in politics and daily happenings around the globe so she could hold her own during conversations in the sandbox at preschool. This took a sharp turn one morning in 2010.
“Mommy, where’s Matt Lauer?”
Evidently absent from the news desk, Matt’s non-doppelganger, Lester Holt, was sitting in for the regular anchor talking about the ills of the world. “Baby, I think he’s on vacation, or maybe he’s covering a news story” a replied while working through a yawn.
Suddenly, without the benefit of Richter Scale warning systems, the earth shook violently. If you believe I exaggerate, you’ve never met my daughter, have you? I looked towards the once calm, cool and collected Gracie to find a seething Medusa-esque creature. Gracie’s petite fists clenched. Her green eyes narrowed. Crazy baby hair all over the place. Cheeks enhanced to a molten lava shade as she wailed, “Who’s this guy? He’s a fake! This is the worst day of my life without Matt Lauer telling me the news.”
Wait…what?! Attempting to process what just happened before I’d had a single drop of caffeine was daunting, yet the initial signs where there. Anger. Frustration. Anxiety not seeing someone she was counting on.
Oh dear Lord.
My daughter is in love with Matt Lauer.
My daughter is in love with Matt Lauer?!
This torrid, one-sided romance flourished. As couples do, she gave him a pet name, coining him, “Matt Lau-wee.” Some of their tender moments included me printing out sets of matching photos so Gracie could fashion a matching memory game. The extras turned into art work she lovingly taped onto the interior walls of her dollhouse. But wait—there’s more! She spent hours watching his Where in the World Is Matt Lauer segments on YouTube, creating her own lyrics:
Where in the world, where in the world is Matt Lauer?
He is lost and he’s never coming home.
He is lost because he didn’t buy a Garmin,
And nobody cares because he didn’t make his bed!
Her Christmas wish list was complete when my best friend, Nancy, encouraged this decades of difference affair by presenting my daughter with a photo of Matt in a heart-shaped frame. Bratz dolls be damned! The year’s highlight was dressing as a Today anchor for career day at school. She announced in class, “Once Matt Lau-wee is married to me, we’re gonna both sit on the big couch, hold hands, and tell the news together.”
This is my life, people…
Then one day it happened. The Today Show was going to air live in Indianapolis to celebrate the 2012 Super Bowl. Our capitol had gained the honor of host city! Gracie and I planned to be amongst the poster board laden crowd, at the rear-end crack of dawn, working every angle of her cuteness to meet Matt while he was in town. I’d arranged with Gracie’s kindergarten teacher for her to take a “learning day” away from school. Best mom ever , right?
Matt stayed behind to hold down the fort at the news desk in NYC and left me to pick up the brokenhearted pieces when I had to share that little tidbit with my devastated child!
She was never the same after that crushing blow.
Fast forward to the winter of 2013. The Polar Apocalypse descended. The Midwest was at a standstill and although I never went full Howard Hughes and narrowly escaped peeing in jars, something devastating was on the horizon. One bitterly cold morning as I made Gracie breakfast on yet another school cancellation day, I glanced into the trash and did a double take. Inside laid a mish-mashed pile of photos. The ones that once hung on the walls of Gracie’s dollhouse. She was in the sunroom whipping banana peels at one of her teenaged brothers during a vicious game of Mario Kart on the Wii. I leaned into the doorway and asked, “Gracie, did you throw away these pictures of Matt Lau-wee?”
Without pausing Princess Peach on her motorbike, Gracie replied, in a singsong voice, “Yes!”
Befuddled, I asked, “Why would you do that?!”
She sighed. “Mom, his facial hair was a deal breaker. It’s over between us.”
Just like that, she’d moved on with her life.
I’d like to throw this out there as a public service announcement to future suitors of Gracie Tucker. You’ve got some big shoes to fill after Matt Lauer. Yet it’s evident to me if you’re follicularly challenged, she’ll give you a fair shake. However if you’re considering participating No-Shave November, check back with her after you’ve found a sale on disposable razors. An extremely worthy cause, yet an obvious relationship ender in her book.