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Family’s Thanksgiving dinner tradition has a tablecloth embroidered with 16 years of signatures

There are footprints of newborn babies and a drawing of a graduation hat on the tablecloth which is to mark each generation's celebrations. 

Cover Image Source: Facebook | Love What Matters
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Thanksgiving is one of the most special times for families—they come together to share a meal and most importantly, create memories that could be cherished for years to come. Knowing this, a Missouri woman started a tradition in 2000 in which each person who joins their Thanksgiving dinner gets to sign her white tablecloth. 

Deb Mills of Clinton said that they are a "blended family" and they made these "very special family traditions that are all our own." She was the one who brought this plain white cloth in 2000 and put it on the table. Her kids who were teenagers back then thought she "was crazy" for saying that she wants them to "sign the tablecloth." Slowly, their family grew and grandkids came along, and now they have "16 years of memories on the tablecloth," as reported by GoodMorningAmerica

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But there is one memory on the tablecloth that stands out among all: the signature of their daughter Mary, who died three years ago at age of 44 due to a ruptured aneurysm. “Particularly, we lost a daughter three years ago, and it is very special to be able to put that tablecloth on the table each Thanksgiving there is Mary’s name and she’s among us." It also includes the signatures of Mills's mother and her husband's father who are special to them. Mills said, "Those three signatures are irreplaceable to us at this point, and I’m sure that tablecloth is irreplaceable to our four remaining kids and 10 grandkids and anybody else that has sat at our table.”

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Every year, they use the same colored pen, which alternates each year. “Each year is done in a different color, and along the edge, I have the color code,” Mills said. She explained that in 2015, they used "royal blue because the [Kansas City] Royals won the World Series. Then I hand-embroider it through the winter months. That makes it much more durable.” That's not it. There are footprints of newborn babies and a drawing of a graduation hat on the tablecloth which is to mark each generation's celebrations. 

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However, they do have some names that they would like to leave in the past. “When the kids were younger, they would say, ‘If we invite so and so and we break up, then what?’” Mills said, laughing. “And that has happened. But we have gravy boats strategically placed for just that reason.”

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Moreover, Mills has inspired her friends to start the same tradition in their families during Thanksgiving. She said, “It’s just a little special tablecloth to us. It’s no big deal,” she said. “But people are now planning on starting it this Thanksgiving. These are younger girls, and I’ll have them over to show them how to embroider it for years to come.” More than the tradition, it's the family that Mills feels "blessed" to be part of. She said, "Families are of extreme importance, and making memories and traditions that carry on to the next generation are so irreplaceable.”

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