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Thu, April 18

Dear Annie: Romantic gifts early on

Dear Annie: In the past, Valentine’s Day usually made me anxious because I didn’t have a date. This year, I’m nervous for the exact opposite reason. I’ve just started dating a great guy, “Jeff,” and he just asked me to officially be his girlfriend - a few weeks before Valentine’s Day. We were talking about how we wouldn’t be able to spend the holiday together because he would be traveling abroad. To tell you the truth, I was a little relieved. Getting a gift for a significant other is always tricky, but it’s especially intimidating when there is the pressure of a holiday early in the game, particularly a romantic holiday. I thought maybe we could skip the potential awkwardness of Valentine’s Day, but then Jeff said we should just celebrate it a week late.

Valentine’s Day is always advertised as a day of hearts and flowers and oversize teddy bears, which all seem to be marketed more obviously for women. What is a girl supposed to get for a guy? I want to show that I care, but I don’t want to come across as clingy or make it seem as though I’m moving too quickly and getting too serious. As all girls know, that is a very fine line to walk. Do you have any advice for a girl who wants to be a great valentine but doesn’t quite know how to do that? — Valentine’s Rookie

Dear Valentine: You can be a great valentine just by being yourself. Jeff’s the one who made a point of setting a date for you two to celebrate together. He sounds like a romantic, not the type to think you’re “clingy” just for getting him a gift.

That said, I can see how picking out a material gift might be stressful because you don’t know his taste all that well yet. Consider opting for a fun experience-based gift — such as tickets to a concert or a gift certificate to a favorite restaurant.

And please relax. I’m sure your new beau is most looking forward to the gift of your presence. Anything else is just icing on the heart-shaped cake.

Dear Annie: A few weeks ago, my beautiful 35-year-old daughter, who is also a wife, mother of two, sister, aunt, friend and caregiver (to the developmentally challenged), received a much-needed kidney through the United Network for Organ Sharing.

She was first diagnosed 14 years ago and was told 10 months ago that a transplant was necessary. Although her husband and all of her immediate family members were tested — as well as several members of her extended family, friends and even strangers — none of us was a match.

Our hearts and condolences go out to the members of a certain family who saw through their pain and grief to make the decision to donate the organs of their young adult daughter. Thank you doesn’t seem like enough, and I hope to someday personally acknowledge this family with our sincere thanks. Our family is forever grateful to you, wherever and whoever you are! -- A Very Grateful Mom

Dear Grateful: Thank you for this beautiful letter. It is truly amazing how blood, organ and tissue donation makes it possible to have our lives saved by total strangers. I encourage all those who aren’t already to consider becoming organ donors.

Visit organdonor.gov for more information.

Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com. To find out more about Annie Lane and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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