By Anne Spear <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: November 2002
Summary: Superman's daughter learns the truth about the magic of Christmas.
*December 27, 2014*
Well, it's almost the New Year and so much is happening. I know it's been a while since I wrote anything in this journal, but I've never been real organized. Even when I've been forced to keep a diary for school, I'd forget and have to go back and make up entries in order to make it look like I did it every day. The hardest was that "baby egg" journal I had to keep for Biology this semester. As if I could ever be a teenage mother with parents as strict as mine. And it's only gotten worse since my powers have started. Now, when Dad want to keep tabs on me, he just calls me telepathically! I have no idea just how much he can sense that way. Is it possible he can actually read my thoughts? Not that I have anything to hide really. I mean, I'm only sixteen. I don't even have a steady boyfriend. It's just that I'm so worried that I'll think something, and he'll misunderstand and I'll end up in trouble for no good reason. I get a headache just thinking about it.
Believe it or not, I do have a reason for writing this entry. The most amazing thing happened this week. It started on the 23rd when we were visiting Aunt Lucy and Uncle Don. My cousin Claire, who's seven, looked very bummed, so Dad asked her what was wrong.
"I was at my friend's house today and her older brother told us that Santa isn't real," she answered with a pout. "Is it true, Uncle Clark? Is Santa a fake?"
Dad sat down and pulled Claire into his lap. "Of course not," he insisted.
"But Mommy said that Rick was right."
"Unfortunately, a lot of people don't believe in Santa 'cause they've never seen him."
"And you have?"
"Uh-huh. So I know for a fact that he exists, and if I were you, I'd stop pouting or you'll end up on the naughty list," he added teasingly.
Claire gasped and jumped off Dad's lap. "I'm gonna go wash up for dinner," she announced before rushing out of the living room.
I didn't say anything to Dad at the time, but I remember thinking how lame he was. I mean, I stopped believing in Santa when I was eight or nine, so what's one more year? But then Aunt Lucy called us in to dinner and the conversation was all but forgotten.
The next night, Dad made his usual big deal about getting to bed as soon as we got home from church so Santa would come. Mom and I just rolled our eyes while Bobby snorted. We all knew better than to try and change Dad's mind about the "magic of Christmas." Mom says that this has been Dad's favorite time of year for as long as she's known him, probably longer.
So, we all said our goodnights and Bobby and I headed up to bed. I changed into pajamas and decided I wasn't really tired, so I lay in bed reading for awhile. About two hours later, I heard Mom giggling as she and Dad went to bed. I still wasn't able to sleep and I realized that reading wasn't going to change that. I've noticed lately that I need less sleep. I guess it has to do with the whole getting-energy-from-the-sun thing. Definitely a bonus when I stay up all night studying.
Anyway, I figured since I wasn't going to sleep any time soon, I'd go out and practice flying. Lately, I'd made a point of locking my bedroom door and floating for a while each night, which was great for control, but I really needed open sky to practice speed and velocity. I dressed in jeans and a plain red sweatshirt, locked the door and stuffed some clothes under the door jamb to hide the light and draft, then opened my window. I hesitated for a moment, considering the need for a mask then, deciding against it, I sped out into the night, making sure that I flew as fast as I could and straight up into the air.
Once I felt I was high enough, I hovered and looked back down at the city. From that height with all the lights twinkling, everything seemed so calm and peaceful. Even with super-hearing, I couldn't detect anything out of the ordinary. It really was a silent night. Then, in the stillness, I thought I heard bells. As I was searching the city for whatever was making that sound, it seemed to get closer. When I realized that it was actually coming from above me, I looked up and moved just in time to avoid being hit by something flying past me way too fast to see what it was, leaving a trail of glittery dust in its wake.
Needing to see what could move so fast, I decided to follow the glitter. I soon found myself in a small suburban neighborhood. The first house on the block had a sleigh and reindeer decoration on the roof. As I flew closer, I realized the reindeer were moving; this was no ordinary decoration. Curiosity beat out common sense as I landed near the lead reindeer.
"I guess you must be Rudolph," I said aloud, extending my hand with my palm up and open toward the reindeer. He seemed to nod, then nudged my hand playfully, so I reached up and scratched him between the antlers.
As I stood there petting an actual reindeer, the others started to… well, prance and paw. There's just no other way to describe it. Since I wasn't sure what to expect, I stopped petting Rudolph and took a step backward. Then I watched as something came out of the chimney. It looked like a man-sized collection of sparkles that floated right through the wall of the chimney. As I continued to watch, I was amazed to see it materialize into a man; a very chubby man with a long white beard wearing a red and white fur suit and black boots. I am not kidding. He looked exactly as every kid has ever imagined Santa to look! I was so startled; I actually jumped back and floated about two feet from the edge of the roof, ready to fly away at a moment's notice.
"It's all right, Elizabeth," Santa reassured me. "There's nothing to fear."
"Are you… I mean I… you do exist?" He chuckled and it really did sound like "Ho Ho Ho."
"Yes," he confirmed. "I do exist." His voice was calm and soothing, a lot like Pop-pop Kent's, and I felt like I could trust him, so I drifted back to the roof and landed again.
"I am so sorry…" I started.
"For not believing in you."
"That's okay," he said, smiling. "You did once, but it's natural to outgrow that childlike innocence. After all, seeing really is believing. You know, there are a lot of people in this world who don't believe in your father. On the other hand, there are just as many that have seen the good he does first-hand. I'm just a little more covert, is all."
"How do you possibly visit every child in the whole world in one night?" I asked.
"This is the one night each year that time flies with me," he explained. "Besides, I don't actually visit every child, just the ones that need a little extra magic. Mostly I inspire the parents to give the best gift without their even realizing the idea came from me."
"But why do you do all this?"
"Because I love making children happy. Seeing the joy on their faces brings joy to my life. That is the true magic of Christmas, sharing with others and giving of yourself." I started to ask another question, but he stopped me. "Now it's getting late and I'm sure your parents would worry if they knew where you are."
"I suppose," I conceded, before rising into the air. About ten feet up, I stopped, turned back and waved, then started for home.
Christmas morning, we followed our usual tradition of opening presents then having waffles made by Dad for breakfast. When we were little, the tradition also included a rule that we were not allowed to go downstairs until Mom put the stereo on. She would purposely take her time making coffee and doing other things to draw out the anticipation. Meanwhile, Dad would taunt us by telling us how much stuff there was or describing the packages. Some years, we were sure we would burst if we didn't hear 'Jingle Bell Rock' soon!
Anyway, after breakfast we'd get dressed and wait for Superman to arrive to fly us all to Smallville. Every year, Superman would come in through the front window and Mom would call up to Dad to hurry up or we'd be late. And every year Superman would offer to take Bobby and me first and come back for Mom and Dad. We were so psyched to see Nana and Pop-pop, we never gave it a second thought. Now, of course, I realize this had all been a show put on for our benefit.
So this year, Mom, Bobby and I were dressed and waiting in the living room when Superman flew in the window. "Ready to go?" he asked Mom.
Mom held one finger in the air toward Superman, then went to the bottom of the stairs. "Clark, come on," she called. "Superman's here and we're all ready to go." I just sat and stared at the floor. I was worried that if I looked at Dad I'd start laughing or something equally stupid and give it all away.
"Lois, why don't I take you and Bobby first and come back for Clark and Liz," Dad suggested.
I looked over at Mom, who was nodding at Dad. "That sounds fine," she agreed.
As Dad placed one arm around Mom's waist and one around Bobby's, I couldn't help but wonder what my parents were up to. I knew Dad would be back in just a few minutes, so I walked through the house one more time to make sure all the lights were out and all small appliances were unplugged. When Dad returned, he held our suitcases under one arm and held the other out to me. "Ready?" he asked.
"You bet," I answered wrapping an arm around his neck while he put his around my waist. Growing up, I'd always loved to fly with Superman. I guess it's just in my blood.
Once we were out of the city, Dad looked at me and asked, "Wanna go on your own?"
"Yeah," I quickly agreed and let go of him. I lost a little altitude without him holding me, but I compensated right away and we flew silently for a few minutes.
"Flying during the day is a lot different than nighttime, huh?" Dad commented.
"I guess there's no sense in trying to sneak out with you around."
"Ever since you were born, I've had a habit of listening for your heartbeat. At first, it was to reassure your mom that you were okay. Later, it was a comfort to me. It was a reminder to me of why I do the things I do. I'm trying to make this world a better place for you and your brother."
"If you knew I was sneaking out, why didn't you stop me?"
"Because I know you're a responsible person and I trust you. Besides, I remember what it was like discovering a new power and wanting to test to test it out too, and I know you'll be careful." I just looked over at him and smiled. "I realize how difficult it is being so different and it's not like you can just go talk to a school counselor. Any time you have questions, I want you to know I'm here for you, or Aunt Linda can help if it's something you don't want to ask me."
"Aunt Linda, your cousin and our godmother… that Aunt Linda?" I asked, confused. Dad just nodded. "How would she be able to help?"
Dad looked like I'd missed the punch line of a joke he was telling. "Because she's Supergirl."
"No way!" I exclaimed.
"Yeah. She arrived on Earth right before your mom and I got married. The next day, I was exposed to red kryptonite so she and Mom made her costume and she was able to keep an eye on things until I felt better."
"But she had brown hair and Supergirl's a blonde."
"She uses a wig for her secret identity instead of glasses," Dad explained.
"Wow. First you and now Aunt Linda. So… who's Ultrawoman?"
"No way!!" I exclaimed even louder.
Dad chuckled. "I was hit be a laser that was passed through a chunk of red kryptonite and it transferred my powers to Mom. Nana made her the costume."
"Talk about keeping it in the family."
"Ya' know, I really like being able to finally tell you the whole story. I can't wait until your brother starts getting his powers too."
"You don't think he could handle the truth now?"
"I don't know. Just think how you would have felt if we'd told you sooner."
I thought about that for a moment then asked, "So, you really did meet Santa?"
Dad grinned before answering. "I've never actually met him but I did see him once. I was about Bobby's age and I'd just found out I had super-hearing. I would lay in bed and see how far I could hear. First, I listened to the sound of my parents sleeping in their room. Pop-pop was snoring. Next, I heard the cat just below my window bounding through the snow. Then I heard the tiniest creak in the living room. I knew it couldn't have been my dad because I heard him sleeping so I decided to check it out. I only went as far as the top of the stairs and from there I saw him. He was just standing there, looking at the tree, then he turned and faded like a ghost and walked right through the fireplace. I never told anyone, until Claire, but I never forgot it.
By then we'd arrived at the farm and landed behind the barn. Dad spun out of his suit and into jeans and a flannel shirt. Once he'd stopped spinning, I told him about meeting Santa the night before and what he said about only visiting children that need extra magic. "Maybe he meant for you to see him so you'd still believe in magic. Otherwise, if you didn't believe in the good in people, you may not have used your powers for good."
"I never thought of it like that," he admitted, then put his arm around my shoulders. "How'd you get to be so smart anyway?"
I grinned and wrapped my arm around his waist. "I get it from my dad," I answered as we wandered around the barn to join the rest of our family.
So, Future Descendents, that's the whole story. Now I can't wait until I have kids and one of them asks me whether or not Santa is real. My answer will definitely be, "Yes, Little One, there is a Santa Claus."