It was a Saturday evening in 2015. The Redskins were playing the next day. After a year of dating, Christiana was used to sharing Danny with his favorite team on the weekends. The Redskins. His first love. Christiana heard Danny’s car outside. She made her way to the garage to greet him. When she saw him, she noticed he held something behind his back. “I brought you something,” he said. He brought his hand out from behind his back. She saw he was holding a jersey. Kerrigan, number 91. She had seen Danny wear it before, among the ocean of other jerseys which made up his closet. At first, Christiana was confused. She knew jerseys weren’t cheap, and she didn’t really consider herself to be a football fan; although, Danny’s enthusiasm for the game was definitely making her more interested, and she would, in fact, watch the game on TV the next day while Danny watched at the stadium. Danny opened his mouth to speak: “Since you’re a part of this family now, you need your own Redskins jersey.” This was about so much more than just receiving a jersey. Everyone in Danny’s family is a Redskins fan. They’ve owned season tickets since the 60s. This tradition was in their blood. As she reached for the jersey, Christiana knew this was about more than just football. This was a huge step in their relationship. It meant she was really in.
As Christiana’s love for Danny grew, so did her love for the Redskins! Over the next two years, she found herself watching games less at home and more at the stadium with Danny and his family. One day while she was at home, Danny called to say that work was keeping him late. He wouldn’t be able to come over that evening. She was bummed, but she occupied herself with other things. Suddenly her phone buzzed with a text message. It was Danny. He asked her to come outside. Christiana smiled and headed for the garage, expecting to see him there with ice cream (he had surprised her like that before)! Instead, he was just standing at his car. She walked through the garage to meet him, and that’s when she noticed the ring box. “I’ve been trying to figure out the perfect way to do this, but I’m just so excited that I decided to just come over and do it now.” He dropped down to one knee and proposed right there in her driveway, just feet away from the spot where he had presented her with the Redskins jersey. They were both filled with so much joy as she answered with an emphatic “of course!”
When we first started planning their engagement shoot and they mentioned wanting to wear their Redskins jerseys, I couldn’t reply “yes!” fast enough. During Christiana and Danny’s shoot, Kyle and I enjoyed hearing different stories from their years of dating. One memory they look back on with laughter is Christiana’s first impression of Danny. She didn’t understand his sense of humor, and she wasn’t his biggest fan! Obviously he grew on her- just like the Redskins! We all enjoyed plenty of Danny’s humor during our shoot. From his constant teasing that he wanted to sit on the lake to check out the thickness of the ice, to his Oscar-worthy performance of concern for a woman who continued to pass us as she ran the loop around the lake: “We need to see if she’s ok. I’m pretty sure she’s lost. Guys! She just keeps running in circles!” to his exclamation of “Wow, I do look great!” after I turned the camera around to show them a precious photo of both of them. Those who know Danny and his family will attest to the fact that the Haines boys all share a funny bone, one that they acquired from their father Gary, who passed into eternity far too soon, leaving everyone in our community shocked and heartbroken. So many people have prayed for the repose of Gary’s soul, and for his family, since his death in 2002. One family who remembered to pray for them every year was Christiana’s. They lived a street over, and after hearing about what happened, they all prayed for Gary, whom they never knew, and for his wife and three boys. They prayed for Gary and his family every year on the anniversary of his death. When Danny shared the story of his dad with Christiana, she immediately recognized the story, and realized that she and her family had in fact been praying for Danny’s dad, and for Danny, all this time. Reflecting on the beauty of the situation, she told me, “I love how God works in such strange ways. We were praying for my future family all those years!” Danny’s sense of humor now gives Christiana and her family a peek into the life of the man they’ve been praying for over the years.
Christiana and Danny, I’m so happy you’ve found each other. It’s so hard to imagine one of you without the other by your side. Having known the Haines family my entire life, I know how great an addition you’ll be, Christiana! And although I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting your family yet, I have known that your family is welcoming Danny with open arms ever since you told me about your mom secretly and joyfully watching Danny propose via the Ring Doorbell video stream—after waiting for 7 months after he asked for your parents’ permission! Danny, you are blessed to have found such a compassionate and loving woman with whom to spend the rest of your life. We are all so happy for you and for the life the two of you are starting together. Christiana, life with Danny is going to be a fun adventure, and he has selected the perfect partner for the ride. Now if you could please just secretly leave a light on in the basement 24/7; the neighborhood would like to knock Danny from the ranks of being the lowest energy consumer of the block, a title of which he is all too proud!