When something very precious to you is lost, you feel like at least a little–and maybe a big–part of you has been lost. You worry that you may never see that treasure again. You question whether you could have appreciated it more when you had it. You wonder if it may have been just a dream. Maybe it was never really there at all.

Last week we had a stretch of three or four days when Marshall was just not himself. I think now that he was going through a bit of a growth spurt. And, of course, like every other baby, he got over the hump and returned to “normal”–whatever that is. But at the time, I couldn’t see the light at the end of what felt like a very long tunnel. I was sleep deprived and physically sore from holding and rocking my chunky boy all day and emotionally drained from trying to calm his cries.

I just wanted my baby back! I wanted him to be happy again. It is so hard to see him so uncomfortable and upset. And I couldn’t help but worry that maybe Marshall was just becoming a cranky baby and that the smiling and cooing that I had gotten accustomed to was going to be no more. I know that sounds silly, but that’s what was going through my zombie mind when I was up at 3 and 4 and 5 and 6 and 7 in the morning feeding him.

Then, last Saturday afternoon, he put my mind at ease. He had just woken up from a long nap in his Ergo. Even though my back and neck were screaming at me, I was so happy that he’d finally been able to get some decent sleep. Of course, he woke up hungry. So I sat down to feed him in the nursery. For the first time ever, he unlatched from my breast to flash me a big grin.

About half an hour later he was a royal mess again. But for that one little moment, I felt such relief. My boy was coming back to me. He wasn’t lost after all.