A father’s wish for his girls: Find partners who love and care for them as he does

Published Jun 16, 2024


PLAITING hair is not Jay Padayachee's forte but he can iron his daughters' tresses to perfection.

"Despite them being 17 and 22, they ask me till this very day to style their hair with a hot iron. Fortunately, they’ve outgrown tea parties, which we had in their younger days, so now they help me to cook in the kitchen," said Padayachee, 53, an auto electrician from Greenwood Park.

Padayachee is a single dad and his posts on social media often highlight his relationship and outings with his daughters Nicole, 22, who recently graduated with a Bachelors of Law degree, and Jordan, 17, a grade 12 pupil.

His wish for his girls is for them to find partners who love and care for them as he does, and to be successful in all their endeavours.

"And to always put God first before anything, and everything else will fall into place," he said.

Padayachee said their mother left home in 2010 and filed for divorce. She died in a car crash in 2016.

"So I have been both mum and dad. The kids have been with me for the past 14 years. I’ve always been hands-on and a problem solver. Getting up early was a normal run of the mill, so it was not daunting to rise at the crack of dawn to see to their needs.

"Preparation is key. Do what you can at night, so the mornings are not so hectic. I used to drop off and fetch my kids from school. I joined the company I work for in 2010, so I had to make alternate plans to get my kids to school and everything worked out."

He said when Nicole was in college, his day started at 4am as he had to bath, change and feed her.

Nicole has a genetic disease, Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), which means all her voluntary muscles are continually weakening, so simple tasks like eating, breathing and talking become difficult.

"Both my girls got dropped off at college and school at 6.30am and I reached work in time. I managed to fetch them just before 5pm. It was challenging for them but we did what we had to do.

"But I won’t take all the credit. I have a good support structure of family and friends, who rally around us when we need help, and we had a minder for Nicole when she was not at college."

Padayachee said living with SMA had become a way of life for them.

"Nicole's disability does not define who she is or who we are as a family. We do not wallow in sorrow. We live."

He said being hands-on, he had to think-of, invent, fabricate and buy things to make Nicole’s life comfortable.

"Nothing is cheap if you’re living with a disability. The treatment for her disease costs R7 million for just one year's supply and this is something she will need for life. Although this disease is debilitating and life threatening, her cheerful, positive and beautiful disposition helps her mental health to the point that she can deal with it.

"It’s a real challenge when she gets ill because I can help her manage pain but I can’t breathe for her when her lungs get infected, so we take precautions all the time. But Nicole is a survivor. She even won the battle against Covid-19."

Padayachee said he could not explain the pride he felt when she graduated with an LLB degree.

"Despite all her adversities, she forged ahead and came out victorious. I advise my girls to never be reliant on any one individual but always strive for the best so people gravitate toward them."

The proud dad said his daughters had "totally different personalities".

"So it’s never a dull day in the Padayachee home. Jordan helps her sister when she can and she is a real live wire in the house. I get into trouble when I discipline Jordan because Nicole will come to her defence.

"We enjoy travelling and eating out when we have a chance. It’s not easy on a single income but we live our lives to the fullest. We have no plans for Fathers Day. I’m sure they will come up with something to do."

It will be a double celebration for Padayachee this week, as he celebrates his 54th birthday on Thursday.

His advice to all dads ahead of Fathers Day: "Love your kids as much as you can. Laugh with them or make them laugh at least once in the day. Always kiss them goodbye when you leave home, and kiss them hello when you arrive."


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