Tag Archives: children with special needs

Divas, Chicks & Thanks by Estela Caballero, Chief Star Gazer

aEC Estela Latina BloggerI didn’t consider it a gift at the time.  When you’re at that place you know you might lose everything, you are forever changed.

Exhaustion and a darkness threaten to take up permanent residence where hope used to live.  Here’s what I know– if those things hadn’t happened, I might still be powering through all the moments that need some pondering.  I’d still be thinking rushing through the good stuff was necessary not understanding that I was missing life.  Life isn’t something that can be figured out.  It is just moments, a succession of moments that run together so fast.  Walk slow through the lovely moments.  Run your fingers over the face of one you love.  Trace the path to your dreams in the sky and don’t dare believe having your head in the clouds is a bad thing.  So often perspective begins from a distance.  The clouds offer the perfect view.

I am coming up on a year of blogging…the first four months were logging in and out of WordPress wondering if I could do it– no actual blogging ever happened. Then I came across inspiration and found the most amazing people ever–Simon, Sandra, AB and Katrina. Inspiration gave way to courage.

I realized that there will always be fear when you open yourself up to the opinion of others.  Let it go and get on with your life. You’ve got something to share with the world too.  Find your voice and let it be heard.  My greatest motivation was the desire to connect with others, especially others who may be going through something I had already been through.  Maybe my story would be the thing that made them believe things would get better– let them know they were enough.  Pretty enough, strong enough, talented enough, and enough enough.

Here are some of the many bloggers that I connected with early on.  Their words of encouragement and the window into their world has been a gift.





I invite you to explore 4utu.wordpress.com.  I share stories about my personal experience with an autoimmune disease called lupus— the gift.  Other tales are of the ongoing story of our family’s experience with autism.  Memories of growing up in a Mexican American home and migrant life are woven in with photography, poetry and artwork.

She is me

I chronicled the adventures of a chocolate eating kanga-mouse named ChocoBandido and his chick, Lola (she’s a real chick— you gotta read it for yourself).


There was also that time the neighborhood cats waged war and took out a restraining order against me because they said I didn’t have a signed release to post pictures of them—-divas!

Tell me about you. How’s the view from the clouds my friend?  I’m listening.


Autism Tales: Vogue & Vision by Gustavo Caballero


Gustavo's Vogue
Gustavo’s Vogue 8 years old when he made this

More art in different media by Gustavo.

More art by Gustavo Caballero of Autism Tales.

Autism Tales: Dear Estela, How was your day?

Sunny Day by Gustavo
Sunny Day by Gustavo

“Can he talk or not?” she asked.  I knew no matter how politely I responded, the emotion would show.  “Yes, he can talk”, I said and quickly tried to reinforce how busy I really was by putting stuff away in the cabinets.  I was so busy I started putting stuff in the cabinets that really belonged in the fridge.  Couldn’t she see I was busy.

“So I don’t get it.  He can say all the names of the streets to get to your house and he drew us a map of how to get to Walmart but he can’t tell me what his teacher’s name is?”, dear Ms. Plaid said to me.  She had seen how busy I was and started putting fridge stuff in the cabinets with me to help.

Gustavo heard Ms. Plaid say Walmart and started to twiddle his fingers in a flutter.  He said, “X marks the spot” three times and drew an x on the map he had drawn a few minutes earlier when Ms. Plaid asked him what his teacher’s name was.  He looked out the window  away from the map and started tapping the x on the map.  He tapped the x with such precision Ms. Plaid wanted to know if eyes in the back of his head were standard issue to children with autism.  She laughed.  I did not.

I decided to show her how after school communication went with Gustavo so she would drop it.  I put the map away.  Even out of sight, Gustavo would probably be repeating, “x marks the spot” and recite where I needed to turn left and where I needed to turn right in order to get to Walmart for the rest of the night.  Mikey who shared a room with Gustavo would make sure we all heard about it in the morning.

I said, “Gustavo, come here papa.”  I pulled out a chair and asked him to sit down.  He said, “no, I can’t do it.”  I wondered what intersection of his beautiful mind was it that took the thoughts in his mind and jostled them just a bit before they took flight into the world.  “Gustavo, Ms. Plaid wants to know what your teacher’s name is.”  Nothing.  Sometimes if I asked questions in a different way, his response would be a closer match to the topic of discussion.  “Is the name of your teacher, Ms. Green or Ms. Garcia?” I asked.  He said, “no, no, no”.

Ms. Plaid had long lost interest and had sat down to watch the afternoon soaps with the others in the living room.  I was lost in the desire to know how Gustavo’s day was.  I wanted to know what he had for lunch and if people were nice to him at school.  I wanted to hear him call me mom and ask me for some juice.  Gustavo rarely called anyone by their name.  He had never called me mom.


I knew the words were in him.  Hearing the details of your loved one’s day is one of those treasures taken for granted.  Gustavo was an excellent reader.  I loved hearing him read.  He pronounced words slightly off but hearing him speak in complete sentences were precious moments.  I would buy books he even hinted he might be interested in.  He knew they were more for me than him.

I grabbed a piece of paper from a notebook in his backpack.  I wrote down a sentence and slid the paper over to him.  He picked up the pencil and neatly wrote the date on the page and then slid it back to me.

“Dear Gustavo,  How was your day at school?”

“June 6, 2004”

“Dear Estela, I had apple juice.  The money.”

That was the beginning of the after school letters that helped me tell my son I loved him in a way that made it past the intersection.  I couldn’t believe it.  I could see what he was thinking.  It was there all along.  I just didn’t know how to ask.Image