EVANSVILLE, INDIANA — It’s a special Mother’s Day for Monica Holland.
“Best Mother’s Day ever,” she said. “After four long years, I’m so happy he’s home.”
She is celebrating with her son, Kyle, a Marine returning home from Camp Lejeune. Kyle was also a combat Marine and served in Afghanistan in 2013.
Holland’s friend, and fellow Marine Mom Tamara Caliendo is also getting ready to celebrate.
“Today I know is my last holiday with him being away from home,” Caliendo said. “His time in the service is ending soon.”
Her son, Nick, is stationed in Camp Pendleton in California until June. He was not around this Mother’s Day to spend time with Caliendo, but he made sure to wish her a happy Mother’s Day.
“A nice long phone call this morning,” Caliendo said. “One thing you get used to as a Marine Mom is that the Marines don’t care that it’s a holiday.”
“It’s very difficult and people that have not gone through it really can’t understand, and that’s why we have reached out to each other because the support system is awesome,” Holland said.
Being the mother of a Marine can be rewarding, but it can also come with its trials.
“Being a Marine Mom is a little different,” Caliendo said. “You don’t hear from them for weeks or months at a time…you don’t know if they’re safe or what they’re going through, it’s frightening.”
Caliendo and Holland’s sons went through boot camp together at Paris Island. The experience of having Marine sons has bonded them with other Marine Moms in Evansville.
The two are part of Marine Moms of Evansville, a network of women who have sons serving in the Marines. Caliendo says there are around 20 to 30 active members, and the group will lean on one another for support during trying times.
“There’s the expression, ‘Once a Marine, always a Marine,'” Caliendo said. “Once a Marine mom, always a Marine mom. And we are loyal and faithful, semper fidelis, and we will always be there to support each other.”
“We can lean on each other because we actually know what’s going on,” Holland said.
For Holland, this Mother’s Day, she will have more than flowers and cards. She’ll have her son.