The Daily Illini runs through two generations


Photo courtesy of Ava Traverso

Ava Traverso and her mother visit the American Girl Doll store in downtown Chicago in 2002. This is among one of the earliest memories she has with her mother.

By Ava Traverso, Special Sections Editor

With spring in full gear, it is more crucial than ever to take the time to give back to the ones who helped us bloom into the people we are today: our moms. For being our biggest supporters, advocates, friends and confidants, our moms deserve this weekend and so much more for all they do for us.

A fact commonly known about me is I am a double legacy with The Daily Illini. Because of this, my time at the paper has really helped me grow closer to my mom. Back in the late ’80s when my mom was a student at the University, she served as a production assistant. This also happened to be where she met my dad, who was serving as sports editor at the time.

Through both meeting my dad and the memories she made, she holds a ton of love for what The Daily Illini means to her. I cannot explain how fortunate I am that she passed that love on to me. Her push for me to join The Daily Illini truly has changed my life for the better, and I am so thankful she encouraged me to join. These experiences have also helped me realize how much my mom’s encouragement over the years has helped me better myself.

My mom always encouraged me to try everything: Girl Scouts, sports, school clubs and everything under the sun. I remember a bizarre season playing softball when I was 9, with my mom taking me to every practice and game. Even if something wasn’t the right fit for me, my mom kept supporting me throughout all my phases, from soccer to basketball. I eventually stumbled upon cross country, and she was at every single race through my four years.

Throughout my experience of being at the University and with the paper, my mom has been an anchor in my life. She is simultaneously my #1 fan as well as my critic, but somehow it still works. She holds me accountable for things I know I need to be better at, and she is constantly pushing me to be the best version of myself.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

She reads every story I publish, and she and my dad were the first people I called when I made editor this spring. She has always pushed me to challenge myself yet is always there to remind me to take it easy when I overwork. Most importantly, she has encouraged me to keep listening and learning so I can be great in every aspect of my life, not just in the paper. I think she sees part of herself in me because of the similar paths we have taken.

Knowing I have her support, as well as my dad’s, behind me makes me want to make them proud. I want to be able to do right by them and show them that all their hard work through my adolescence has been worth it. It’s one of those feelings where you want to put everything you have into nurturing it and doing well by it.

Being in the DI has helped me learn to truly appreciate the relationship I have with my parents, notably my mom. Being able to have this common connection with her has brought us closer than ever before. Growing up with such a strong role model has made all the difference when it comes to the person I want to grow into.

If I turn out to be half the woman my mom is, my life will be better than I thought possible. They are often taken for granted, but the work our moms do for us means more than we could ever repay. Make sure to hug your moms this weekend and tell them that you love them. It’s the least you can do.

Ava is a sophomore in ACES.

[email protected]