21 Oct Mom of the Week – Daniella Mini, Creator of PublicPonder.com!
Daniella created publicponder.com, a website about parenting, special needs and life lessons.
What do you love to do with your children? How old are they? And what is your greatest wish for them?
I love to go to the American Museum of Natural History with Diego, who is 25. Diego has autism and loves wild animals. It’s incredible to see his excitement about trips to the museum, from the anticipation leading to them, to him going from animal to animal and naming each and every one of them.
With Andres, who is 23, I love to talk, talk, talk. He’s a deep analytical thinker and his knowledge and opinions on many topics blow me away. Plus Andres is a good listener and always wants to hear what I have to say!
When our children are really young, happy and healthy, moms (including me) usually say that we just want them to be happy. Having a child with special needs taught me early on that we want other things for them and that our wishes change over time.
At present, I wish for Diego’s dream of having a girlfriend to come true some day. I wish for both Andres and Diego to experience deep fulfillment every day through their relationships and their actions, no matter how small or how impactful.
Who has had the biggest influence upon you?
My mother, whom I call “mami,” has had the biggest influence on my life. We are seven brothers and sisters and she is the center of the family. Throughout our lives, she has been stern, loving, demanding, encouraging, accepting, consoling, but above all, she has been and continues to be infinitely generous. She has taught me that a mom’s role continues no matter what age our children are.
What quality do you most admire in a mother?
Unconditionality. The most unconditional love that exists is a mother’s love. There may be exceptions, but these just prove the rule.
Besides motherhood, what other careers/opportunities have you enjoyed? And what are your strongest qualities?
I just launched a website – www.publicponder.com – with my son Andres. It’s an exploration of our human experience, which in my case has a lot to do with parenting and special needs. It’s a collection of long-form essays and short reflections to help the reader explore his or her unique experience.
I also work full-time as an early childhood special educator. It’s more than a job – it grounds me, and it gives me enormous joy and satisfaction.
Strongest qualities? Hmmm… I got one! At 50, I love to learn and to push myself more than ever before.
Were you happiest in elementary, middle, high school or college? Please explain why.
College. I grew up in Caracas, Venezuela and went to a preK-12 Catholic School. Then I went away to college in Massachusetts: the new environment, four seasons, independence – it was exhilarating. I had difficult days in college, of course, but I discovered the world beyond what had been familiar to me, learned a lot about myself, fell in love for the first time, and made deep friendships.
What do you like to do for fun and what is your idea of a perfect day?
So many days could be perfect. Here are two very different, yet equally perfect ones. I love a lazy day where I sleep in, stay in my pajamas until late, read on the couch, and play backgammon with my husband. Another perfect day could include driving to Lake Minnewaska with my husband and sons, riding our bikes and having a picnic, and going to dinner and a movie when we get back to Greenwich.
What is one of your favorite books? Movies?
Recently, I loved the novels Song of Solomonby Toni Morrison andAmericanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. One of my favorite movies is Saturday Night Fever. It’s about our longing to belong and to be loved; it’s about New York City. I also love its music, dancing and acting.
What is your favorite type of food and what do you love to cook?
I love Venezuelan food, which is the food I grew up eating – arepas, tequeños, hallacas. It would take paragraphs to describe them, but if you type the names on Google images, you’ll see how delicious they look – which they absolutely are. I really don’t like to cook. That’s all I have to say about that 🤷♀️.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I would like to go to so many places! Here are some of my top destinations – African safari (Kruger perhaps), Cambodia (would love to see Angkor Wat), Yellowstone, the Oregon coast, Japan, Patagonia, the Galápagos Islands. I would also love to go back to Canaima (in Venezuela), where you can see the Angel Falls and tabletop mountains called tepuys.
Where is your favorite place to Party with Moms and what is your drink of choice?
Every summer, I get together with my sisters, all of whom are moms. There are six of us and when we gather, it’s a party. We like to go to Kira Sushi and to Bar Taco. I also love to party with fellow moms at my friend Fabiola’s house. She is the most generous hostess in the world!
Drink of choice? Don’t really have one. This past summer, however, I was very much into the Aperol Spritz.