Is this the ‘Happy Ever After’ we were all hoping for?

20 months, 86 weeks, or 608 days.  Whichever way you look at the numbers they don’t look any nicer or more pleasant.  During this time, I have had one main hope, one main ending in sight, that one pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that I’ve been reaching for.  A family.  Now if you’ve been reading my blogs over the last year (yes it really has been that long) then you will have seen snippets of our journey, the glimmers of hope as slowly but surely my four rainbows came back home, they came back to where they needed to be, where they belonged.  The fight didn’t end there, did we get our happy ever after?  Did we heck! 

Back in April 2021, my last rainbow came home.  After a total of 444 days in the foster care system, I was finally able to shut our door and sit with the four small versions of me and smile.  This was it, this was what we had been working towards, finally all the times I had been asked the question ‘what are your best hopes?’ I had my answer here in front of me.  I just had to keep it now, I had to make sure that I never ever lost it again.  For a while I didn’t, for a period of time it was great, it was that ‘honeymoon period’ I guess it’s called.  A 4-month honeymoon. 

Then august came, and the same dreaded conversations revisited us.  We were thrown back into the system of foster carers, of mental health services, of hospitals, of feeling lost and abandoned.  My best hopes remained, to get my family back together because that’s what everyone wants, isn’t it?  To be together, to be happy, to be united? Gradually the number of rainbows I had at home went from 4 to 3, to 2.  With each knock the familiar feeling of heartbreak, loss, grief, and sadness overtook.  

It’s hard to describe what it feels like to watch your child live elsewhere against your will, against their will.  To know that you are smiling on the outside, encouraging them to be the brave, inspirational, independent person you know they can be, yet don’t want them to be just yet.  Going over every memory of time together to try and remember if you’ve taught them enough to be able to manage on their own.  Have I taught them to cook enough?  Can they work a washing machine? Will they know when the chicken is cooked? Will they remember to put clean underpants on every morning? They hate taking the rubbish bins out, will they manage with this? What if they run out of electricity? The list is endless, yet you know you can only say ‘call me if you need anything,’ and hope that they will. 

“Our best hopes change, they grow, they evolve, they adapt.  That’s what makes them the best fitting hope for us.”


There are not enough ways to describe the relief when you finally get that call only to be told ‘I’m doing alright mum,’ yet the panic and worry still sets in when you say bye then don’t hear from them for another 2 hours.  Does this ever get easier?  The independent stage of life was supposed to be a happy celebrated occasion, a time to take pictures, to be making good memories that would be looked back on in years to come with fondness.  Instead, this won’t be looked back on with joy at all, this major milestone has been sad, and something we want to forget.  We were not ready for it.  We still are not ready for it.

What were my best hopes for though even through this?  It was of course to get my family back, to get us back together.  Was this why it was so hard? Rather than moving further apart my hopes were for us to still be moving closer together, to me my hopes, my happy ever after was actually getting further away.  We had it in our grasps for such a short space of time, then it just faded away again.  How was this going to work out? Slowly I was becoming more and more hopeless.  The days became longer, and darker and before I realised it, I was finding that the only thing I was holding on to was the thought of getting to curl up in bed and cry. 

However, with 2 rainbows at home, one in between care and hospital, and the other now independent I would sit for a long time, and I mean a long time, and just think.  Was it really going to be for the best to carry on holding on to this image that I had?  Of wanting us together, were my best hopes from 20 months ago really the best hopes of where we are now?   Holding on to that, as much as it was lovely for those 4 short months that it lasted for is not going to be best for now.  That realisation was the thought that hurt the most.  That was thought that triggered the most painful tears, the ones that give you the relief of tension after holding on to so much pain for so long.  Those tears were the release that was needed, the heart-breaking build-up of bad news after bad news that had been stacking up had finally taken its toll, the emotions that had been locked away behind the ‘mum’ face finally broke through.  The reality of knowing that best hopes change, and now it was time to accept that so does our ending. 

Some of the scariest things I have had to do recently have included the reality that I needed to ask for help.  I have learned that there are some amazing people in the world, who give their time, their kindness, and don’t expect anything in return, other than for maybe just to hear you talk about yourself a little bit kinder.  That those people will be the ones to cheer you on and celebrate your achievements, even if you don’t feel like it (and chances are they know you’re smiling even if you don’t say so) Also having the awareness that little versions of us are very brave and very willing to share.  A hand being held can lead to many places, to new adventures, onto new paths.  Only one of you needs to be brave!

So, what do our best hopes look like now?  If you imagine a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs, the meatballs are a bit like us.  All over the place, separated by the long strands of spaghetti, but inevitably all connected at some point!  We won’t ever be that ‘picture perfect’ family, that’s ok.  We are family, and the best we can hope for, for now, is that we get my one rainbow strong and well enough to get out of an inpatient unit, for my biggest rainbow to continue to thrive as an independent young adult, and make the best of every day we have, every weekend we can get together, holidays, and I maybe even get some babysitting duties out of one of them sometimes! Mum’s night out!? 

“If you imagine a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs, the meatballs are a bit like us.  All over the place, separated by the long strands of spaghetti, but inevitably all connected at some point!”


We may not have got our ‘happy ever after’ but we got a new chapter, and that’s good enough for me.  Our best hopes change, they grow, they evolve, they adapt.  That’s what makes them the best fitting hope for us.

Butterflies with Rainbows, for the month of December, will be focusing on family.  There will be an end-of-the-year blog, however, that doesn’t mean I am vanishing.  Instagram and Facebook posts will still be continuing so please do head on over and give me follow, I’ll still be updating and replying to messages.  The last 3 months have been an emotional, and physical challenge to say the least, so putting some time to concentrate on my own mental health, physical health, and family is something that I just need to do.  The website will be being updated as well, so in the new year, there will be some major changes as we see the blog celebrates its first birthday. Please stay well, stay warm, or cool if you are in a hot part of the world. Thank you for your support, encouragement, and kindness.

Photo by u0426u0432u0435u0442u0430 u0422u0438u0448u0438u043du044b on

2 thoughts on “Is this the ‘Happy Ever After’ we were all hoping for?

  1. Dear Butterflies with Rainbows, I wish you a good, warming of your mind and soul – time this next month. I cannot imagine how strong you must be to be where you are right now. Take care and please keep on allowing those amazing (SF?) people to cheer for and celebrate with you!

    Warm smile, Ella

    Ella de Jong Change Trainer – Coach

    Tackle Your Challenge, simple! E: M: +31(0)6 – 16 424 060 W:


    Liked by 1 person

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