A friend of mine lost her mother recently, and I have no doubt this Sunday will be the most difficult Mother’s Day she has ever faced.

So, with that sad thought in mind, I look at how eternally grateful I am to have a mother AS WELL AS a stepmother, both of whom I am blessed and fortunate to spend time with this weekend.

For the many who can no longer hug their moms because they are at rest; for those who can only visit their mothers in the hospital or in nursing homes because they are too frail or too ill; for those who will only speak or communicate with their mothers via cellphone or computer; and for those who don’t know their mothers at all — I say, don’t waste another second in telling your mothers how much they mean to you, how much you love them, and how grateful you are to have them in your lives. We sometimes take their presences and lives for granted.

Sure, we think they know how much we love them, but let’s not take for granted their need to hear the actual words.

Let us be grateful for the opportunities we have that others may not, to say: “I love you, mom, and I wanted you to know how very much. I’m thankful for all the sacrifices you’ve made, the hours you worked to clothe and feed me, and for the nurturing, faith and good advice you always had for me. I’m thankful for the encouragement when I’m down, the soft touch when I need it most and the swift kick in the pants when I need it the least ... thanks, mom, and Happy Mother’s Day.”

Meanwhile, Around Zachary ...

La. 64 widening begins

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has begun construction to widen La. 64 between La. 19 and McHugh Road in Zachary.

The project will add a center lane for vehicles to make left turns into businesses off La. 64.

The project’s schedule will require one lane to be closed in each direction with work beginning at 8 p.m. each night, Monday through Saturday, and ending at 6 a.m. on Fridays, 8 a.m. on Saturdays and 10 a.m. on Sundays.

Work is expected to take about 300 days to complete, DOTD officials said.

Residents are encouraged to use the new bypass road, which serves as an alternate connection to or from La. 19 at Bob Odom Drive through the intersection of the bypass at Montegudo Boulevard.

Swimsuit drive underway

The YMCA of the Capital Area is hosting its eighth annual swimsuit drive to provide swimsuits to children in need this summer.

Residents are asked to donate new one-piece swimsuits for girls and swim trunks for boys of all ages.

The Americana Y is accepting donations through May 31.

The Y offers several opportunities for youth to learn how to swim through its community splash programs and swimming pools and through swimming lessons and swim safety classes.

For information about the drive, call Kristen Hogan at (225) 923-0653, extension 1104, or email khogan@ymcabr.org.

Lifecyle of a tree talk set

At Port Hudson State Historic Site, 236 U.S. 61, near Zachary, Lifecycle of a Tree will be presented at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Join the site ranger for a walk through the forest to look at plants and trees of various ages and investigate a tree’s role in its ecosystem throughout its own life cycle.

For information, call (225) 654-3775.

Free swim lessons

As a salute to May being National Water Safety Month, the YMCA is offering free swim lessons to youth during two upcoming events.

At the Y at Americana, 4200 Liberty Way, swim safety classes for youth ages 3 to 5 will be held from 5 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. May 12.

Youth ages 6 to 12 can take free lessons from 5:45 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. May 15. For information, call (225) 654-9622.

In addition, the Y offers children ages 6 months and up, youth, teens and adults the opportunity to take group, private or family lessons in the mornings, evenings and on weekends.

For information about these lessons, visit ymcabr.org/aquatics or call Hogan at (225) 923-0653, extension 1104.

Send news and events for Around Zachary to Stacy Gill at sgill@theadvocate.com by 3 p.m. Fridays or call (225) 993-0066.