Lisa Kern

Lisa Kern
Pennsylvania, US
March 28
I'm a mom of three boys, a needy dog, and an insolent cat. When I'm not writing, vacuuming up pet hair, or cleaning pee off the toilet seat, I like to fantasize about jeans that actually fit and an all-you-can-eat-chocolate-and-cheese diet. Welcome to my party.


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FEBRUARY 17, 2012 9:41AM

Next time, don't bring Mom to a fist fight

Rate: 31 Flag


Like most moms, I've been with my kids as they've navigated life's milestone moments.  I have their first smiles, first teeth, first words, and first steps lovingly recorded in their baby books. 


As they've grown, I've chronicled some of their more poignant milestones, such as pet deaths, first girlfriends, and broken hearts.  Through them all, I've been there, ready to either celebrate or soothe.


Recently, my oldest son Ryan and I stopped at a local convenience store for a couple of sandwiches.  While Ryan waited at the deli counter for the sandwiches to be made, I decided to move the car to one of the gas pumps and get some gas. 


I'd just finished parking the car next to the gas pump when I saw Ryan come out of the store with our lunch.  I also saw a young couple, probably in their twenties, shouting at each other in the middle of the parking lot in front of the store. 


It appeared to be a pretty intense breakup.  She was shoving clothing at him and he responded by throwing and crushing as many things of hers that he could find.  One by one, he threw various items onto the asphalt including, oddly, a potted plant (doesn't everyone carry one of those with them to the convenience store?) and what appeared to be lip gloss and hand sanitizer.  I suppose nothing says "we're through" quite like crushed hand sanitizer.


Ryan made his way past the arguing couple  to our car.  He'd no sooner gotten inside when we both saw the guy shove his girlfriend to the ground.  In an instant, he was on top of her, pinning her down with his body and pummeling her face with his fists.


Another man tried to pull the irate boyfriend off of the girl.  As soon as he'd succeeded, though, both the boyfriend and the beaten girl turned their anger onto him and began punching him.


Before I could say anything, Ryan jumped out of the car and ran up to the fight.  He pushed the girl out of the way and subdued the boyfriend in order to free the unfortunate good Samaritan.  Thanks to Ryan's efforts, the man was able to escape, but now the crazed boyfriend was punching Ryan.


Nobody hits my baby. 


In what was probably not a very good idea, I ran up to the boyfriend and demanded in my sternest voice possible that he leave my son alone.  It must have been quite a sight: middle-aged me getting in the face of this badly-behaving jilted boyfriend.  Still, I must have at least been a distraction.  Ryan was able to free himself and pin the guy to the ground, an action that provoked hostility from the equally combative girlfriend.  She swung wildly at Ryan while yelling for him to leave her boyfriend alone because (who didn't see this coming?) she loved him.


The boyfriend was back on his feet and things were really getting ugly. Even though he was more than capable of defending himself, there was no way I was going to leave Ryan to fend for himself against these two.  I channeled my inner Mama Grizzly, shrieking and pulling at the girl to get her away from my son. 


Now in the middle of the conflict, I could see the girl's face.  Her nose was badly bleeding and she had a wild yet vacant look in her eyes.  She was high on something but it certainly wasn't love.


Coming face to face with her, my first thought was why would she allow someone to treat her like this? My next thought was that she was someone's daughter, someone's baby girl.  I'm sure her parents wouldn't want to see their child beaten by someone who was supposed to love her.


So, I did what any red-blooded, slightly out-of-her mind mom would have done:  I tried to reason with her.  "You shouldn't let him treat you this way.  You're bleeding and your stuff is all over the parking lot.  Is this what love looks like to you?"


 She stopped trying to hit Ryan long enough to tell me what I could do with myself.  Let's just say she wasn't wishing me a good day. 


A petite woman, probably in her late-50's, came up to us and asked the girl if she was OK.  At the same time, the boyfriend, also under the influence of something other than love, staggered over and began screaming at the girl again.  The petite woman quietly suggested that someone call the police.  The girl heard this and flew into a rage.  "No one's calling the police!  I love him!"  She swung around while punching uncontrollably, hitting the petite woman squarely in the nose and narrowly missing my own face. 


Any sympathy I'd felt for this girl was now replaced with anger.  I grabbed the girl's arm and pulled her away from the woman, surprised that she didn't fight me.  Several people including Ryan had formed a human corral around the boyfriend, separating him from the girl and rendering him harmless, if not entirely quiet.  He spewed every verbal yet incoherent assault imaginable.


Employees from the convenience store as well as a crowd of twenty or thirty customers stood along the edge of the parking lot.  A woman shouted that the police were on their way.  Another woman who was a nurse came over to check on the petite woman, who was speechless and in shock at having been attacked by someone she tried to help.


With the situation finally under some semblance of control, Ryan and I left the melee and went back to our car, still parked at the gas pump.  Four police cars with lights flashing pulled into the parking lot just as we were pulling out. 


                "That was pretty intense," I said to Ryan.  "But I'm proud of you for trying to do what's right."


                "I couldn't not do anything."


                "I know.  You're a good person."


                After a while, Ryan said, "Hey, I guess this was my first fight."


                "Yeah, I guess it was.  Maybe I should enter it in your baby book," I joked.


As a mom, I've always known that I'd do anything for my children.  Apparently "anything" also includes abandoning all reason and jumping into the middle of a fist fight.

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Wow, that would have been too scary for me. My sweetie is not the kind of man to step into a fight. Once, walking with a guy (American) I met living abroad, late, through the city, he was bumped into by a surly man. Next thing I know, they are tearing at each other, and the guy was using my bag of work clothes to swing. The crowd broke it up, but I was horrified this guy I barely knew would do that. He was horrified too, saying he had never fought before, but the primal rage (he had just had his wallet stolen a few hours earlier) kicked in. I think drugs must fuel that in some, that primal rage. Thankfully, your primal mothering also kicked in.
Scary. You must be so proud that Ryan did do the right thing in this situation though - you are raising him well. Jacob had a karate tournament this weekend and got punched so hard he passed out from losing his wind. It was like I was teleporting I got down to that ring from the stands so fast. He's fine, but it was hard to see, and this was a situation with padded head gear, refs, gloves and all kinds of safety precautions! I can't imagine what watching your child in a real fight in the real world would feel like...I would have probably jumped in too!
I've seen these peculiar public foreplay sessions before also.

911 isn't just a date on the calendar. Use it first.
Oryoki - Thinking back on it, it was scary, but at the time, I wasn't afraid. I acted before thinking because I was worried about my son. If either of us had known that drugs were involved, I don't think we'd have gotten ourselves involved. The drug factor makes it all the more unpredictable.

Laura - You probably would have jumped in, too. I can't imagine that any mother would be able to stand seeing her child in trouble and not do anything about it. I hope your son Jacob is OK. That must have been terrifying to watch!
alsoknownas - Although I know you're right, reason took a back-seat to action that day. Hopefully we won't find ourselves in a similar situation any time soon!
Lisa. Wow. Tears in my eyes. You are a wonderful Mama-bear who raised a great son. You should be proud.
crazy as it seems, I'm proud of you both!

he had to do what he had to do, which was humanly decent concern for that woman's safety. Being pummelled in the head by a guy pinning you down isn't exactly good for the brain. He could have easily killed her.

Your son is good and you, YOU are sensational. Mother's instincts were right on. I think I'd have done the same thing. I'm kind of hot headed and very protective towards my family.

It's great to read you again Ms K. **
There's a reason police officers especially hate domestic violence calls--they're incredibly unpredictable. Glad you and Ryan are OK!
As potentially dangerous as the fight was, lunch from a convenience store? That's taking your life in your hands.
Talk about pluck! I really admire Ryan's (and your) courage, and I'm so glad neither of you was hurt.
I'm glad neither one of you were hurt. It could have ended very badly. I wouldn't have been able to stand by and watch my child get manhandled either, but I'm not sure I'd be of much help!
Consider yourself lucky that the girl wasn't strapped. In urban environments (and coming soon to your suburbs) girls carry Glocks as often as boys.
Mari - Thanks for the kind words. :)

Foolish Monkey - Yes, that's it exactly. I always knew I was protective of my family but I never had to put it to the test. It's amazing how you just ACT. Thanks for being here.

Susan - I can't imagine being a police officer and responding to those kind of calls.

Stim - I know, right?

Diana - Nice to see you, my friend!

Jane - Aw, I love you too! Hopefully your son won't find himself in a similar situation. Who knew convenience stores were so dangerous? By the way, mine is still using Axe but it's the (one) kind I like. If you have to have an Axe user in the house, at least make him wear Twist. That stuff is seriously amazing!
Bellwether - I'm telling you, the fear evaporates when you think someone you love is being hurt. I think about it now and want to pass out though!

neutron - Oh, man, I never even considered the potential for being SHOT. Holy shit!
Wow. The Human Condition never ceases to amaze, both in it's insanity and in it's ultimate humanity. In one instant, a normal day goes from normal to surreal, and you get to see the worst, the best and most bizarre, all in the space of a few moments.

Ain't being human great? Your son sounds like a great kid. I admire someone who can do the right thing without wondering -- is this a good idea? 'Cause you know, somtimes it's not a good idea, but it's still the right thing to do.

I broke up a fight at a gas pump recently myself. Two black women were fighting over I have no idea what. I ended up blocking blows from both women, speaking loudly, "Ladies, ladies, I beg you, stop. Please stop, this is crazy. The cops are going to be coming. Come on now, stop, please I beg you."

Surprisingly, they did. My friend was standing there, mouth agape and told me afterwards, "There was no way in hell I was going to get involved."

I didn't even think it over. I just got in there and broke it up. Both women were taller than I. It just was one of those moments. Not nearly as strange and surreal as your encounter. It reminded me, though, how quickly normality can turn into insanity.

Drop of a sanitizer fast, you get me?

Lisa! That's all I could think to say at the end of this. Then, when you stepped it, it became a crowd chant in my head: LISA!LISA!LISA! You two are like a mom and son superhero duo - by the way that's a fantastic idea for a short story, and your story with it's clarity of goodness and the right kind of righteousness (that used to be associated with noble things (Righteous defender of mankind!) so exactly when *did* righteousness get dragged through the mud with its skirts all rucked up around its waist?)). I'm glad you didn't get hurt by that poor wretch of a girl. You did help - you both did.
what sandra said right above me, exactly, precisely. once ryan took off into the melee, you did what i would have done. asshats. glad you and your boy weren't hurt and that the cops showed up. whew.
ugh, good for you, and ugh again
I believe you did the right thing, both of you. The police would say differently, because of their experience with things going the hard way. But yes, do not mess with my child.
I'm glad that you and your son are unharmed, but what you wrote in your last paragraph is really an extension of the basic creed of motherhood.
u tell the damnest stories and make them funny, not an easy trick
You're the best! Brave and strong.

I've never even seen anything like that. (I try not to look at my next-door neighbors once they get loud ...)

Anyone who starts yammering - as they do lately - about women not being fit for combat should have to read this.
Wowee. Lisa stand back! I didn't realize how "ghetto" Lancaster was, smile emoticon.
In my full mom heyday, I was a grizzly too. Funny and engaging as per your usual, glad to see you. Our b-day is coming up, I am going to see BRRUUCCCEEE in Philly!!
I was afraid to read about bloody noses, fat lips, lost front teeth, and fist fights.
I followed . . .
rita seem tough.
I hold her skirt.
I'm glad I read this.
It's to sense . . . win
their favorite pro wrestler
writes haiku
fun . . .
Serious . . .
I wish we had time.
It's hard to read all.
I sometimes pass bye.
Rita was my body guard.
She seems to exude sanity.
She's be fun to go brawl in:
the local saloon/barroom.
I keep getting bar\invites.
Some women are/cuddly.
I fear entering all alone.
I never wear any cologne.
I don't own any boxers.
Underpants are scratchy.
I am an optimist/pessimist.
Play solitaire @/home alone.
That's way safer\but I thirsty.
I bet you'd be fun\@ bar stool.
Never drool at bar\@ my town.
No fall off the bars/@ loco pub.
Wow! So glad none of those who tried to intervene were seriously injured, but man . . . what a scene! It's gotta be a little bit nice to know, though, that not only do you have a good kid, but also that you've still got moxie . . .
Way to go Mama Grizzly. You brought him up well.
Rated. :)
On one hand, you're a momma lion. On the other, a naif. Smacking people around is not your thing, obviously, and perhaps you underestimate the skills of those who practice it. They have lots of experience, are much better at it than you are. Please take care.
What an intensely difficult situation to find yourself in. I think I would have called the police first, then try to determine what else it would be possible for me to do... It is very difficult to get involved, you don't know if it is drugs, or if knives or guns come out. The problem is always the need to do the right thing and personal safety. A young man vacationing in New York with this family several years back now tried to break up a fight on a train there. He died of knife wounds in front of his family. He was only a boy. I think the perpetrators were involved in a gang dispute. I don't remember now. You must be very careful. I am glad you and your son are okay.
Dunniteowl - Thank you for confirming what was my and Ryan's experience: when confronted with an awful situation, you don't think, you just act. I never would have expected to do what I did, and yet there I was. Unless you've been in a similar situation, you really can't know how you'd react.

Sandra - I'm beyond thrilled to see you here. Thanks for the uplifting words. XOXO

Candace - Thank you! Yes they were asshats indeed.

Julie - "Ugh" is right. Thank you for stopping by.

Diana - Exactly! When it comes to your own kid, no matter how old he is, you can't stand by and do nothing.

Ben - Thank you so much, my friend. I'm always happy to see you. XOXO

Rwoo59 - Which side of the fight were you on? At least now you could defend yourself legally!

nerd cred - There is definitely something primal that women are able to tap into.

Rita - You are going to see BRRUUUUUCCEEE? You lucky girl! Our birthday will be here before we know it, won't it?

Art - Oh my gosh! What a delight it is to see you in my comment thread. I'm glad you followed Rita here. Thank you! By the way, solitaire is my guilty pleasure. Nothing works better at turning off mind-chatter.
Owl - I didn't think about the moxie part, but you're right. I might be middle-aged but I'm not dead yet. Still plenty of fight in this dog (as long as I take my Aleve first and don't strain myself too much.) Thank you for stopping by!

She Blogs - Thank you! I am very proud of my son.

J Lynn - Thank you for taking time to read. :)

greenheron - You've pegged me pretty well. Honestly, I hate conflict in all forms but most especially violent ones. That's why it was so unbelievable that I acted as I did. I really think it was because my kid was involved. I don't want to ever witness anything like that again, though.

Sheila - There wasn't time to call the police. That guy was pounding on my son. If I took 30 seconds to call 911, he could've seriously injured Ryan. It was insane. I'm so glad that it all worked out OK. I hope that couple has decided to stay away from each other (and the drugs and/or alcohol.)
My mother instincts would have pushed me to do the same thing. I also would have been dialing 911 at the same time. Wow, Lisa. We mothers are such primal beasts. ~r
That is intense. So much drama in the world. It seems so many thinks it is okay to bring their laundry to the street for all to see. Thank you 'Jersey Shore'. But, a good bonding moment for mom and son.
Joan - Oooh, "primal beast..." I'm going to use that the next time my husband tracks mud in the house.

Brown Eyed Girl - You know, I didn't think about Jersey Shore until you mentioned it, but yes, it's insanity seems to be spilling over into everyday culture. Sheesh! Isn't it time for some positive, inspiring television?
Good for you... Good for that son of yours. I love his values and that reflects on his mother :)