Skylar Gould kept the touching notes in a shoebox, and now, 11 years later, she's using them for her master's thesis project at Ohio University.
PHOTOS: Woman creates thesis project from mom's lunchbox notes
"I had forgotten they existed, and I came across a book about handwritten letters and I had an epiphany where i remembered about them," Gould told ABC News. "I called my mom and she still had them all. I started working on my project and it evolved into a website over the past year."
Skylar says she wrote the notes as a way to keep in touch with her daughter throughout the day, even when she couldn't see her because of work.
The notes are both touching and silly, reading "Don't be quick to judge the girls at school. It's up to you to look for something good in each one," and "Too much TV will rot your mind!"
Gould turned the notes into a website, keeping it a secret until finally sending a link to her mom on her birthday in April.
Besides the project, Gould says the notes still help her as an adult.
"It was important to me and I loved getting them. Rereading them for the first time (for the project), there were things that stuck with me that I didn't realize stuck with me," Gould said. "I think my sense of confidence comes from them. I was always really shy as a kid, but through my young adulthood so far I've had that sense of confidence and pride in myself and my work because of how my mother has always talked to me. Through the written word, it really stays with you more than just hearing it every day."