When Skye Gould was in middle school, her mom, who was often traveling for work, wrote her dozens of advice notes and put them in her lunchbox. The two made a pact to save the letters, and they’ve been tucked away in a shoebox for more than a decade. Skye is now sharing them on a website she created as part of her master’s thesis in visual communication.
The project called Advice from my Mom, features the cherished letters, which started with typical “have a nice day” notes, and quickly became a vehicle for her mom to offer little bits of encouragement and advice on navigating middle school. The collection is accompanied by family photos and “the lessons” Skye learned from her mom.
“My mom wrote me these letters because she believed in the person that I was always meant to be.”
“This small window of time in my life was very significant. Shortly after I finished 6th grade, my family moved from a small town in Ohio to South Florida. Before this move, I was extremely shy; being a confident young woman was never something that came naturally to me. My mom wrote me these letters because she believed in the person that I was always meant to be. I am eternally grateful for these reminders,” Skye explains.
In a previous interview, Sky’s mom, Stephanie Skylar talked about wanting to be an influence on her daughter. “When I wrote the lunchbox letters for Skye, she was at a transitional age from pre-teen to teenager. It’s a vulnerable time in any girl’s life. I wanted to implant positive messages in Skye’s head without sounding like a nagging mom.”
The notes are categorized by the lessons Skye learned, such as: You can survive the girl world, Cling to memories, not places, Listen to your gut, See the world through both sides, etc. Each category begins with Skye’s reflections on the letters and how they have affected her.
She shares… “I want Advice From My Mom to help others reflect on their own parental advice. What words have our loved ones told us over and over that we need to be reminded of? How can we forever eternalize this advice and pass it along to others? For my mom and me, it was Lunchbox Letters, but what is your method? I would love to hear from you.”