Last week, there seemed to be a small victory in the fight for Britney Spears' freedom.
Jamie Spears signaled that he will step down as conservator, something that Britney has wanted for a long time.
But filing papers isn't the same thing as nailing down a firm timeline.
When it comes to Jamie surrendering his absolute power over her life, Britney will believe it when she sees it, and not before.
Thirteen years is a long, long time to hope for something to happen.
With that in mind, an inside source tells HollywoodLife that Britney Spears is reluctant to celebrate prematurely.
“She’ll believe he’s actually stepping down completely when it happens," the insider stated.
The source explained that Britney isn't counting her chicks before they hatch "because it’s been so long."
"And," the insider noted, "everyone keeps telling her he’s going to step down."
Britney is no stranger to these assurances but she gets them "and nothing ever happens."
The issue is that Jamie Spears filed documents last week in which he agreed to step back from his role as her conservator.
After 13 years of injustice, it's been a long time coming.
However, the timeline for this supposed transfer of power is totally up in the air.
Britney asked the court weeks ago to immediately remove Jamie from the conservatorship.
That request was denied by the court, and Britney realized that she would have to wait for her next hearing -- if not longer.
This filing appears to be a step in the right direction ... but as of right now, he's still her conservator.
“Britney is disappointed that Jamie is still her conservator," the insider confirmed.
"But," the source acknowledged, "she understands that this is all a long process."
The insider added: "She is happy that the process to have him formally removed is finally happening."
"And," the source shared, "she’s feeling confident it will eventually happen."
“It’s like taking it off the shelf and putting it back," the insider characterized of her previous experiences.
"The back and forth situation where everyone tells her he’s stepping down right now," the source added.
"And," the insider lamented, "that’s not what happens."
This song and dance has been going on for years.
Britney has been trapped in this conservatorship for well over 13 years, now.
"It’s very hard for her,” the source explained.
That is more than understandable.
There is nothing more cruel than the world playing Lucy With The Football with someone's freedoms and human rights.
False hope is painful, and the discouragement that follows can lead to hopelessness and despair.
Real hope, however, can fill someone with life and optimism that they'd almost forgotten.
That may be what Britney is now experiencing.
Just a few weeks ago, Britney was able to hire her own attorney.
This is the first time that she has been permitted to do so during this fight for her freedom.
Her new attorney actually took action with the intention of ending the conservatorship -- starting with the ousting of Jamie.