About a year and a half ago, a wife and mother of two lost her husband suddenly when he passed away due to injuries sustained from an automobile accident. It happened on his way to work, just like any other day. In that instant, life for one family would never be the same.
Her name is Nikki Maucere, and I met her when she was the teacher in my grandson’s Kindermusik class. She had a genuine kindness about her, and I enjoyed being with my grandson in her class.
When COVID hit, and much of life in the outside world stopped, we stopped going to classes. However, I kept up with Nikki on Facebook, and when I read a post on July 6th, 2020, that her husband, Craig Maucere, had died, my heart broke for her. They would have celebrated their 11th Wedding Anniversary one month later had he survived. They met when they played clarinet in The Pride of Oklahoma Marching band.
In the weeks and months following Craig’s death, Nikki focused on her two young children ages, 6 and 3 get through the grieving process. She joined a widow’s group, read books, and came up with ways for the family to honor Craig’s memory.
Nikki posted about how much Craig did around the house and shared responsibilities in caring for the children. As she transitioned from being a two-parent family to a one-parent family, she shared a list of all the things that Craig took care of, and it was long. It was clear that he was a good father and husband.
Many people reached out to Nikki after Craig died. Family and friends were there to help her in any way they could. It speaks to the type of person that she is. It also speaks to the kind of person that Craig was. When Nikki needed a handyman and yard work done around the house this year, fellows from The University of Oklahoma Kappa Kappa Psi Delta Chapter Alumni came to her rescue.
This Christmas will be the family’s second holiday season without their husband and father. She learned from women who had become widows before her, and one piece of advice was to shop and wrap a gift for herself to open on Christmas day. The reason is simple; it can make little children sad when they see that the surviving parent has no presents to open.
Nikki’s Post on Facebook:
“Last Christmas was my first Christmas as a widow with two young children. I learned from other widows that kids could get very upset on Christmas morning when their surviving parent doesn’t have any gifts to open. To combat this, many widows have the sad task of shopping for, wrapping, and then opening (and pretending to be surprised) gifts for themselves Christmas morning. It can be one of the worst parts of the holiday for many widows, and I found out single parents often have a similar struggle.
I reached out to an organization that aimed to help single parents. They made me feel ashamed for the asking (they only wanted to provide gifts for the children), even though I offered to pay. I then realized that we have a genuine heart need that we should address. So, I started a movement that I never thought would catch on - Fairy Godmothers. In 2020 Fairy Godmothers was able to pair over 60 parents with a Fairy Godmother. It helped to make the parent feel seen, loved, and cared for while also showing their children that they are loved and cared for, which provides more emotional security for those sweet children.
If you would like to spend $30-$75 buying a few gifts for a widowed or single parent this year, please join Fairy Godmothers - Midcities (DFW). I will be posting all the information on that page!
Thank you to everyone who volunteered last year and took care of a single parent. Without your support, those 60 parents would have been opening gifts Christmas morning that they bought and wrapped themselves. Instead, you gave them a surprise, love and made them feel seen.
I can’t wait to see the impact this has in 2021!!”
Since her posting on Facebook feed, her story has been written up by 5 NBCDFW: “Fairy Godmothers Wanted: Euless Widow Launches Initiative to Make Holidays Brighter for Solo Parents”
And The Washington Post: “Widowed parents often have to buy Christmas gifts for themselves. These ‘Fairy Godmothers’ are trying to change that.”
Nikki continues to amaze me with her strength and intelligence. In addition to raising her children alone now, she is self-employed and runs a promotional products company, Bluplume Promotions. Now that she has founded Fairy Godmothers, many single and widowed women who struggle to get through the holidays will have a gift to open on Christmas.
Rest in Peace, Craig Maucere