Every Mother's Nightmare

By Juliee

Rated: PG

Submitted: January 2002

Summary: When Lois and Clark's six-month-old daughter suddenly falls ill, they find that she has suffered a permanent hearing loss that the Man of Steel finds hard to cope with.

Author's Note: After Lois and Clark's daughter goes deaf, anytime they're talking to her or she's talking to them, if I say 'he said, she said' just know that what they're really doing is signing. Just writing the word 'he signed' 'she signed' makes it boring :)


Lois woke up at 6:45 am, on one of her days off, to the sound of her daughter crying. She crawled out of bed and left Clark peacefully snoozing.

"It's amazing that he can hear the tiniest whisper of a plea for help in New Zealand but he can't hear his own daughter crying at the top of her lungs," she mumbled, still half asleep.

She entered her daughter's room.

"Tabitha, you can stop crying. Mommy's here," Lois soothed. When Tabitha saw her mom's face, the crying turned to a small smile. "There's my beautiful daughter," Lois said, picking her up. She sat with her in the rocking chair.

Lois nursed the baby, hoping to get her back asleep, even though she knew it would be rare. However, Lois was surprised and glad when Tabitha fell back asleep so she put her back in her bed and decided to slip back into bed herself. She felt Clark's arms embrace her. "It's amazing that you woke up after I already fed the baby," she teased.

He laughed. "I'm sorry, I guess I didn't-"

"Stop right there, Clark Kent," Lois said. "Don't you dare try and tell me that you didn't hear her."

"OK, I guess I heard but I just-"

"- ignored the cry of your daughter completely?" Lois asked.

"I have selective hearing," Clark said. "It comes and goes."

"Well, I guess I love you anyways," Lois said.

"I love you too," Clark said. "And I love Tabitha too, just not when she's crying at four in the morning."

"It's almost seven, Clark," Lois said.

"Well then we definitely need to go back to sleep," Clark said. He gave her a kiss. "Goodnight."


Around ten thirty, Lois woke up to the bright sunshine pouring into her room. Clark wasn't in bed and she went into the nursery and noticed that Tabitha was gone too. She went downstairs to find Clark cradling Tabitha in his arms as they watched cartoons.

"How long have you two been awake?" she asked.

"About half an hour," Clark said. "I heard her crying so I decided that you needed your sleep."

"Thanks," Lois said. "Did you feed her?"

"I fed her, I burped her, and I changed her," Clark said. "For such a little baby, she makes the biggest messes."

"Can I take her from you?" Lois asked.

"Sure," Clark said, handing Tabitha to Lois.

"Hey, sweetie, were you bonding with your Daddy?" Lois asked. She turned the baby so that she was facing Lois' face. Tabitha smiled at her. "My baby is so beautiful. Clark, do you realize that ten years ago, I didn't want a man tying me down and especially not a baby. Now, I have both, and I've never been happier."

"It's amazing what a baby can do to a person's life," Clark said.

"And a husband," Lois said, kissing him.

"Or a wife," Clark finished.


About three hours later, Lois had fed Tabitha again and put her back down for her nap.

"Ahhh, we have some privacy," Clark said, sitting down on the couch. "Would you care to join me?"

"I would love to," Lois said, sitting in his lap. She gasped. "Clark, I forgot to turn on Tabitha's baby monitor. I'll be right back." She got up to leave but Clark pulled her back down. "Don't worry, I'll keep a close ear out for her."

"What if you get called away as Superman?" Lois said. "Then what do I do?"

"Then, you can go turn on the baby monitor," Clark said.


About an hour later, Clark could hear Tabitha crying. "Our baby's awake," Clark announced. Lois started to get up. "No, please, let me go get her."

"Sure," Lois said.

"And is it OK if I feed her too?" Clark asked. "It's OK if you want to, though. I know it's your special bonding time with her."

"No, Clark, it's important that you bond with our baby too," Lois said. "I would love if you fed her. I'll heat up a bottle for you."

"There's no need to do that," Clark said. "I can zap it to the right temperature in seconds."

Lois smiled at him as he ran up the stairs to tend to their baby. It was such a turn-on to her that he cared so much about their baby. She would have to tell him about that later, or rather, show him.

Clark came down the stairs cradling Tabitha. "Lois, Tabitha feels a little warm and looks a little flushed."

"Oh no," Lois said. She put her hand to the baby's head. "You're right, she is warm. I'll go get the thermometer."

Clark sat down with Tabitha as she started whining a bit. "Hey Tabby, what's wrong? I know you don't feel good, but Mommy and Daddy are going to make you all better." The baby continued to fuss. Lois came down the stairs and took the baby's temperature.

"It's right at 100 degrees," Lois said. "That's not that high or anything to freak out about yet. We'll just keep a close eye on her."

"OK," Clark said. "Maybe you should feed her instead. It will probably make her feel better."

"OK," Lois said. "As soon as she recovers though, you can feed her whenever you want to."

"I look forward to that," Clark said. Lois nursed the baby and then burped her. She immediately spat everything up.

"Oh no," Lois said. "Maybe she's got a stomach thing."

"You take care of her," Clark said. "I'll clean this up."

"OK," Lois said. Tabitha started wailing. "Shhh, sweetie. Mommy's here." Lois cradled the baby in her arms and slowly walked around the house with her.


About half an hour later, Tabitha was still crying.

"Clark, this has never happened before and I don't know what to do," Lois said, obviously stressed that her daughter was sick. "I don't know what's wrong with her or how to take care of her."

"Do you want to call the doctor or your parents or something?" Clark asked.

"Maybe we could call your parents first," Lois said.

"Lois, I was never sick," Clark said. "I don't know that they would know how to treat it."

"Oh yeah," she said. "Let's call the doctor."

They called the doctor and explained the situation to her. She assured them that it was probably just a tiny case of the flu and not to be concerned right at this moment.

Two hours later, Tabitha had finally cried herself to sleep.

"Clark, I'm really worried about her," Lois said when she was finally able to put the baby down in her crib.

"I know Lois, I'm worried about her too. But don't worry, I'm keeping a close listen out for her and I'm not going to leave, no matter what the emergency is," Clark promised.

"Thank you, Clark," Lois said, snuggling down beside him on the couch. The two of them were so tired from their non- stop crying baby that they ended up falling asleep on the couch.


Clark woke up about half an hour later when he heard his daughter upstairs shrieking. "Lois, wake up, there's something wrong with Tabitha." With that, Clark got up and zoomed upstairs with Lois close on his heels. Clark reached into Tabitha's crib and picked her up.

"What's wrong with her?" Lois asked, very worried.

"I don't know," Clark said. Lois noticed her baby had little sweat beads on her forehead and put her hand to her head.

"She's burning up. Clark, you have to take her to the hospital," Lois said. "There's something very wrong with our baby and she's not getting any better."

"You're right," Clark said. He handed Tabitha back to Lois and spun into his suit. "You want me to take you with me?"

"Yeah," Lois said.

Clark picked up Lois, who was holding Tabitha and flew them both to Metropolis General Hospital. He put them down in front of the emergency room door and quickly changed into Clark, meeting his wife inside. Doctors were rushing Tabitha into the ER and left Lois standing there.

"Clark, there's something wrong with our baby!" Lois sobbed, letting her emotions out for the first time. Clark gathered her in his arms and led her to sit down in the waiting room.

"What's wrong? What did the doctor say?" he asked.

"He didn't say anything," she said. "I just know these things. Call it reporter's instincts. No, that's my daughter. Call it maternal instincts."

"Lois, she's in good hands. The doctors will take good care of her," Clark said.

"It's just not fair," Lois cried. "It took us so long to become pregnant and now after just six short months, we could lose a child that we love more than life itself."

"Lois, we're not going to lose Tabitha," Clark promised.

"Oh, Clark," Lois said, crying on his shoulder.


After three long hours, a doctor finally came out to talk to the Kents.

"Mr. Kent, Mrs. Kent, I'm Dr. Travis," the doctor introduced himself. "Your daughter has a very extreme ear infection. The inside of her ear was pretty red when it should be flesh colored. She will be just fine as soon as the infection heals. We're keeping her overnight just for observation and she can go home tomorrow."

"Can we go see her?" Lois asked.

"Yes," the doctor answered. He led them into Tabitha's room where she was lying in bed. When she saw her parents, her face lit up.

"Hi, sweetheart," Lois said. "You look like you're already feeling better than you were this morning."

Tabitha sat up and started whimpering, her tiny arms outstretched.

"You can pick her up if you want to," the doctor said. "It will probably make her feel better, especially if you can get her to sleep."

"Sure," Lois said. She picked up her baby and cradled her. Tabitha grinned. "I love you," Lois said kissing her daughter on the head. After a few minutes, Tabitha started reaching out for Clark.

"Oh, do you want Daddy now?" Lois asked. "Go see your daddy." She handed Tabitha to Clark's outreached arms. Tabitha immediately snuggled into her daddy's warm body and started falling asleep.

"Lois, we're so lucky," Clark said. "We've still got our precious daughter and she's just fine."

"I know," Lois said with tears streaming down her face. "I was so scared."

"It's OK, Lois," Clark said, gathering his wife in his other arm.


The next day, Lois and Clark brought their daughter home. From that day, her ear healed and showed no lasting effects.

A year later, however, Tabitha was a year and a half old and had gotten another ear infection. Lois and Clark took her back to the doctor and he treated it.

After two years and three ear infections, Lois and Clark scheduled three-and-a-half year old Tabitha to have tubes put in her ears. A week before the surgery though, Tabitha developed her fourth ear infection.

"Do you want to take her to the doctor, or should I?" Lois asked.

"It's closed for today and we don't really need to take her to the hospital, so we'll both just take her tomorrow," Clark suggested.

"OK," Lois said.

They did their best to calm Tabitha down. They pulled out some of her favorite toys and sang some of her favorite songs but nothing worked. Finally, after crying for almost two hours straight, Tabitha gave in to her exhaustion and fell asleep in Clark's arms. He carried her upstairs and tucked her into her big girl bed.

One hour later, Lois and Clark were watching TV on the couch when Clark's super-hearing detected someone in trouble. They were having problems breathing: it was his very own daughter. Lois, who was laying across Clark's lap and unaware of Tabitha's breathing problems, was suddenly shoved aside by Clark as he raced to his daughter's side. He picked up Tabitha as she gasped for air. Lois was immediately at his side.

"What's wrong with her?!" Lois asked.

"She's having breathing problems," Clark said.

"Take her to the hospital!" Lois said. "I'll drive to the hospital and meet you there."

Clark didn't hesitate. He spun into his Superman suit and flew out the window with his baby in his arms. He rushed her to E.R. and the doctors whisked her away. Superman promised to go find her parents and returned as Clark minutes later.

Lois rushed in shortly after that and found a very distraught Clark. They waited together, cried together, and prayed together, anxious for word on their daughter's condition. After what seemed like hours (which was really forty-five minutes), Dr. Travis, the physician that took care of all of Tabitha's ear infections, came out to talk to Lois and Clark.

"We're doing everything we can to find why your daughter is having so much trouble breathing. She does have a very bad ear infection again. The inside of her ear is blood-red. We're keeping a close eye on her to ensure that her ear drums don't burst and trying to keep her fever down. It shot up to 104.7." Lois gasped. "We're taking very good care of your daughter but we aren't sure what's causing all of her health problems."

"Can we go see her?" Lois asked.

"Sure," Dr. Travis answered. He led Lois and Clark into the neo-natal intensive care unit. Tabitha's crib was set up in a large room that was much like a spa. It blew out hot air so as to open up Tabitha's lungs and allow her to breathe. She was hooked up to many machines and had an oxygen mask covering her face.

"Oh my God," Lois said. "This doesn't even look like my child. Two days ago she was happy and healthy. What happened?"

Clark wrapped an arm around her again. They started talking to their daughter. "Tabby, Mommy and Daddy are here. We don't know what's wrong with you but you're going to be just fine."

"I'm so sorry there's nothing that I can do to help," Clark said. "I'm the most powerful man in the world, but when it comes to helping out my own daughter, there's nothing that I can do."

"We love you, sweetie," Lois said, brushing her hand against the baby's face. She buried herself in Clark's shirt and started crying softly.

"Lois, everything will be just fine. We have to stay strong for our baby," Clark comforted her.

About fifteen minutes later, the doctor told them that they would have to leave and he would be sure to keep them posted on the latest news of their child's condition.

In the waiting room, Lois and Clark dozed in and out of sleep, afraid to fall asleep completely for fear that something might happen at any moment. Lois and Clark both jumped when they heard the overhead speaker call for doctors and what was said sent a chill down their spine.

"Code blue in room 178, all doctors nearby respond immediately! Room 178, code blue!"

"Clark! Oh my God, that's Tabitha!" Lois cried as she and her husband raced down the hall to their daughter's hospital room. Doctors were in there trying to revive Tabitha, who had suddenly flat-lined. Clark held Lois close and they weren't able to breathe a sigh of relief until they heard their daughter's heartbeat resume. Dr. Travis didn't come out until almost an hour later with a very grim look on his face and talked to Lois and Clark some more.

"How is she?" Lois demanded. "What's wrong with our daughter?"

"I want to take you two into my office so that we can talk," he said.

Lois looked horrified and squeezed Clark's hand until they got to the doctor's office.

"We discovered what's wrong with your daughter," the doctor said. "When she flat-lined in there, we had a positive way of knowing why she was so sick."

"Well, what is it?" Lois asked. Clark squeezed her hand in hopes that she would calm down a bit.

"Tabitha had a case of spinal meningitis," the doctor said. "It's very hard to detect at first because it has all the symptoms of the flu. It can have consequences and one of those can be death but luckily, we believe that your daughter will make a full and complete recovery."

"That's a huge relief," Lois sighed.

"Except for one little thing," the doctor said.

"What's that?" Clark asked.

"Well some of the other consequences of spinal meningitis are blindness, deafness, and in some severe cases, even paralysis. There's no easy way to say this, but your daughter will never hear again."

"That's what you consider one little thing?" Clark asked. "There was nothing that could have been done to prevent it," the doctor said. "But since she's so young she will easily adapt to it and the two of you can greatly help out by putting her in a school where she will learn sign language and you can support her by learning it along with her. I'm very sorry again."

"That's OK, it's just a hearing loss," Lois said. "She's still our daughter and it's something to get used to but I still love her. I'm just glad that she will be able to come home to me."


One week later, Tabitha had made a full and complete recovery. The doctor talked to Lois and Clark some more about how to cope with their daughter's hearing loss.

"Talk to her like she can hear you," he said. "She will have some temper tantrums to begin with because she'll be frustrated. She will no longer be able to hear herself speak or hear you speak. Smile at her when you're happy with her since she won't be able to hear the tone of your voice. Facial expressions are very important in the deaf world. And I've taken the liberty of contacting a public school with a great deaf-ed program right here in Metropolis. They would like to set up an appointment with you if you would like. The quicker you can get her into her signing classes and hearing appointments, the easier her life will be."

"Thank you Dr.," Clark said, shaking his hand as they went into Tabitha's room.

"Hi, sweetie," Lois said. Tabitha smiled at her and stood up in bed. "Oh boy, aren't you happy? I'm glad that you're finally feeling better." She picked her up, throwing her up in the air and then bringing her close, smothering her with kisses. Tabitha laughed.

They checked her out of the hospital and started walking out to the car.

"Lois, I-um- someone's in trouble," Clark said. "I'll meet you guys at home?"

"OK," Lois said kissing him. She waved Tabitha's hand for her. "Bye Daddy."

Clark just smiled and flew off. Lois buckled Tabitha into her carseat and drove home with her. She immediately made the appointment for Tabitha at Metropolis School for the Deaf which was located only twenty minutes from their home and about thirty minutes from the Planet. It was important to Lois that their daughter would be close to them.

Clark returned home late that night and Lois was already in bed.

"Hi," she said as Clark joined her in bed. "Did it take you that long at that one emergency?"

"Yeah, it was a bad volcano eruption in Hawaii," Clark said.

"Your suit didn't seem to be dirty," Lois said. "Do I need to let it soak or anything?"

"No, it's fine," Clark answered.

"I made the appointment for Tabitha to go in for the deaf school. It's only twenty minutes away from our home and it's rated number four in the country. It will teach her sign language and how to lipread for the next year and a half until she's five and then they think that it would be best for her to enroll in a public elementary school where there is a deaf-ed program. But that way she'll still have deaf friends and she can also have hearing friends."

"Sounds good," Clark said.

"Are you OK?" Lois asked, getting close to him. "You're being very withdrawn."

"I guess I'm just tired from the volcano spill," Clark said.

"OK, well, you get some rest and we'll talk about this in the morning," Lois said.

"Sure," Clark said, turning over and going to sleep.


The following Monday, Lois got dressed to take Tabitha in for her appointment at the Metropolis School for the Deaf. "Lois, where are you going?" Clark asked. "You look so sexy."

"Thank you," she said as Clark kissed the back of her neck. "I'm taking Tabitha to the deaf school for her interview to see if she's in. I would love it if you came with us. I'm sure Tabitha would too."

"Yeah, I'll come — oh, Lois, someone's in trouble. I'll see you later," he said as he flew out the window.


That evening, Clark came home and immediately found Lois on the couch and snuggled with her.

"How was your day?" Lois asked. "Hectic?"

"It was OK," he answered. "How was your appointment."

"Excellent," she said. "The staff there is so nice and I got to visit the different classrooms and it seems like it really will be a great school for her. They teach speech, lipreading, and signs."

"Interesting," Clark said.

"I better start making dinner," Lois said hopping up. "Tabitha's upstairs taking a nap but she's been down for a really long time and needs to wake up if you want to go get her."

"Um-sure," Clark said, uncertainly. He went upstairs and got his daughter out of bed and she started smiling immediately. He took her back downstairs.

"Hi, sweetie," Lois said, taking her as soon as dinner was cooking.

"You can take her," Clark said handing her over.

"It's fine, you keep- oh, OK," Lois said as Clark shoved the baby into Lois' arms.


Six months later, Tabitha was about to celebrate her fourth birthday. She and Lois had learned enough sign language that they could communicate with each other once again. Clark never attended any sign classes and only knew how to sign 'Hello, Tabitha.' Whenever Tabitha said anything to him, he had to get Lois to interpret what his daughter said. Lois had no idea why Clark was always darting out on his daughter's life and it made her feel like their relationship was falling apart.

"So, you're going to stay for Tabitha's party, right?" Lois asked. "Your parents will be there, my parents will be there, along with Perry, Jimmy."

"Yeah, I'll be there as long as no one needs help," Clark said.

"Clark, what's wrong with you?" Lois asked. "You were so excited when Tabitha was born but ever since she became deaf, you dart out on her life. You're making those lame excuses that you used to give me when you had to go save someone as reasons not to take Tabitha to school and you won't hold her or feed her. It's always 'I have an overdue library book' or 'I just remembered that I need a new tie for work on Monday.' Do you really think that I buy those excuses? And how do you think that makes Tabitha feel knowing that her father would rather help the world than his own daughter?"

"I don't know how it makes her feel," Clark snapped. "I would ask her but, oops-I forgot, she can't hear anything."

"I can't believe that you had the nerve to say that," Lois said. "It's not her fault that she lost her hearing, and you know what? It's not our fault either. No one was to blame for what happened but you are to blame for her not having a father. How could you be so selfish?"

"Lois, you don't understand?!" Clark said. "I can hear the tiniest bird chirping in South Africa but my own daughter can't even hear us talking to her if we stand two feet away."

"You know what, Clark, there's nothing that we can do about that," Lois said. "She may not hear what you're saying but don't you think she can understand? She's deaf, not stupid."

"Well, right now, this is more than I can handle," Clark said.

"She's been deaf for six months!" Lois yelled back. "Get over it! It doesn't effect you, it effects Tabitha. You should be able to understand how she feels. You were blinded but did I abandon Superman as a friend because of a disability? No, I helped him out! How would you have felt if I had kicked you out because you were more than I could handle?"

"That was a long time ago, Lois! And this is completely different!" Clark said. "I don't know how to be a good father to our daughter right now."

"Then leave!" Lois yelled at him. "Go away right now if you want to! It will be much easier to try to explain to Tabitha that her father left; rather than that her father lives with us, yet we never see him. You, more than anyone should understand how alone she feels. She's different than most people. I would think that you could empathize with that feeling."

"I thought you would understand more about what I was talking about!" Clark yelled.

"Well, I don't, so if you want to leave, do it now while she's asleep!" Lois said. "She's used to waking up fatherless."

"Fine!" Clark said.

"And consider yourself uninvited from the party tomorrow," Lois said. "I would appreciate it if you didn't show up."

"Don't worry," Clark said. "I won't be there." He flew out the window. Lois broke down into tears, unable to believe that this was the man that she'd fallen in love with eight years ago.


The next day at the party, Martha and Jonathan asked Lois where Clark was.

"We had a little falling out last night and he walked out," Lois said.

"What?! What happened?" Martha asked.

"For the past six months, ever since Tabitha lost her hearing, he has darted out on her life on these so-called 'emergencies' and when I confronted him about it, we decided that he shouldn't even come. I just don't know what's the matter with him," Lois said.

Tabitha walked over to Lois and held up her arms. "Hi, sweetie," she said. She gave her a kiss. "I love you," Lois signed.

"I love you," Tabitha signed back, giving her mother a kiss on the cheek.


About half an hour later, Lois had served the cake and was surprised when there was a knock on the door.

"Who is that?" Lois asked. "Everybody's here." She went to the door and opened it. She saw Clark standing there with a big bouquet of flowers and a big package wrapped in little kid wrapping paper. "Clark."

"Lois, I know that I was banned from the party but I didn't sleep at all thinking about what you said and you were right. I was the biggest jerk and I don't know why. So, if it's OK with you, I would like to join the party."

"I would love for you to come to the party," Lois said. She wrapped her arms around him and kissed him.

"I bought you these to apologize," Clark said handing her the flowers. "And where's my daughter? I bought her something too."

Lois smiled and took the flowers. She tapped Tabitha on the shoulder and pointed to Clark. "Look who's here," Lois signed.

Tabitha smiled and ran to him and Clark scooped her up in his arms, giving her a kiss. He sat with her at the table and helped her to eat her cake, sneaking in a few bites of his own. Tabitha never left her daddy's side as the party continued. Clark helped her open her presents and carried her around everywhere they went. After the party was over, Tabitha fell asleep in Clark's arms.

"It was a long day for her," Clark said as he put her upstairs in her crib.

"It was very exciting too when she saw her daddy come in," Lois said.

"If I hadn't been such a jerk for half her life, my presence there wouldn't have been such a big deal to her," Clark said. "Lois, I am so sorry. I was an idiot and I feel awful for what I've done to the two of you. But you have to believe me when I tell you that never again will I let that happen. I'm going to go to those signing classes with you."

"Clark, I love you so much," Lois said, wrapping her arms around him.

"I love you too," Clark said. "And I want to start the signing classes."

"That's so great," Lois said. She was beaming with pride. "But what if you hear an emergency? How are you going to dart out in the middle of class?"

"I won't go," Clark said. "I've already missed out on too much of my daughter's life. I can't speak to Tabitha and I'm not going to skip out on the classes that will teach me to communicate with her."

"I love you so much," Lois whispered sexily. "I've really missed you these last few months."

"Why? I've been here," Clark said.

"Your body has been here, but your mind has not," Lois said. "Making love has just not been the same."

"I'm glad to know that you're more interested in my mind than my body," Clark grinned.

"It's kind of neck and neck," Lois teased. "Let's go to bed."

"Sounds like fun to me," Clark said.



Clark kept his promise and went to the signing classes and thoroughly enjoyed them. He and Tabitha bonded as father and daughter and he was soincredibly proud of her. She was twenty years old and enrolled at Gaulledet School for the Deaf in Washington, D.C. — a place that seemed worlds away for Lois and Clark. Tabitha came bounding into the Planet one day as a surprise.

"Tabitha, what are you doing here?" Lois greeted her daughter.

"Where's Daddy?" Tabitha signed.

"On emergency," Lois answered back. "Why?"

"I have some exciting news and I want to tell you both," Tabitha said. "Are you free tonight? We could go to dinner."

"Dinner tonight sounds great," Lois said. "I'll catch your father and tell him. When and where?"

"LeBelle's at seven?" Tabitha asked.

"We'll be there," Lois answered.

"Dress nice," Tabitha informed her.


That night at seven, Lois and Clark got dressed to meet their daughter at the fancy, upscale restaurant, downtown. They found her sitting at a table with a man they had never seen before.

"Hi, Tabitha," Clark said kissing her on the forehead. "Who's this?"

"This is why I wanted you to meet me here tonight," Tabitha said. "Mom, Dad, this is Bryce Everett and he has asked me to marry him. But I wanted your permission first."

"My baby's getting married?" Clark asked. "Of course you've got my permission!"

"Mine too!" Lois said, wrapping Tabitha in a hug. She pointed to Bryce. "Is he deaf or hearing?"

"He's deaf," Tabitha said. "I wanted to make sure that Daddy was OK with that." Clark's face fell.

"Of course I'm OK with that," Clark answered. "Why would you think that I wouldn't be?"

"I knew when I first lost my hearing you were a little upset and disappointed," Tabitha said.

Clark interrupted her. "You're right," Clark said. "I'm ashamed of the way I felt and acted but that was fifteen years ago. I love you so much and it doesn't matter to me if you're deaf or not. You're my daughter and I love you."

"I love you too, Daddy."