Like other parents, Nikki Maucere is spending the busy holiday season taking Christmas card photos, decorating the house and checking items off of the Christmas lists of 7-year-old Emilia and 4-year-old Luca.
It’s the similar routine everyone seems to fall into this time of year. But it wasn’t until last year, when she lost her husband Craig, that Maucere connected with other widowed parents and learned that those parenting alone bear another burden during this busy season.
“I noticed a lot of people saying that a lot of kids get upset on Christmas morning whenever their newly widowed parent doesn’t have any presents to open. They were recommending, ‘Make sure you wrap some presents for yourself to put under the tree,” said Maucere. “I was like, wow. That sounds pretty horrible. Having to go shop for yourself, open the gifts and then pretend to act surprised? I was like, no one should have to do this.”
They also weren’t talking about it, so Maucere decided she would.
“I don’t like it when people do these things without talking about them, you know, these things that are so hard. We live in this social media world where everything’s perfect and we don’t really share the hard very much. And I really want to live in a world where we can help stand in the gap when people need it,” said Maucere.
She turned to Facebook and started a small Facebook group named Fairy Godmothers – Dallas/Fort Worth Area. She shared her story and told those interested in doing something to help that they weren’t solving a financial problem but rather a heart one.
“I want all those single parents, all those widowed parents, maybe living in a really hard time right now, to just feel seen and know that they’re not alone,” she said.
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Maucere asked those willing to commit to purchasing some small gifts for a widowed or single parent that would be wrapped and delivered before Christmas morning rolls around.
Within a few short weeks, the group of volunteers had blessed 60 families.
She said some of those being helped, whom she affectionately refers to as Cinderellas, became Fairy Godmothers for another mother in need.
This year, she hopes to extend their outreach to 100 parents.
She’s also heard from people as far away as Tennesee, Virginia and Florida hoping to do the same.
“My husband died in a car accident. He was on his way to work. It’s been really hard, but I try to find as much purpose in that as I can,” said Maucere.