They met when they were babies. At least they think they must have. Their parents were friends and Jake’s older brother actually used to babysit baby Chelsea, so there must have been an encounter at one point. They both moved away from Minnesota to have their own adventures, and then cosmically ended up living just down the street from each other when Chelsea moved back to Minnesota in 2001.
They attended the same church, and their mothers resumed their friendship. Jake was two years older and went to the high school on the other side of town, so there wasn’t any communication between the two of them until February 20, 2005. They were both assigned to speak in church and sat next to each other up on the stands. Chelsea was still in high school, Jake was two years’ graduated. Chelsea leaned over to introduce herself–“Hi, I’m–” and Jake interjected with, “Chelsea Hinckley, I know.” Chelsea was taken aback and asked how he knew that. He responded, “Should I not know who you are?” and Chelsea said, “Well, you’re Jake Reynolds, so I guess that makes sense.”
That ended the conversation.
Chelsea saw something in him that day, and became determined to befriend the shy and surprising Jake. It took months of being brutally rebuffed, but eventually he relented and accepted an invitation to come to dinner with a few friends. Nothing came of it, but for some inexplicable reason, Chelsea didn’t give up–this behavior was completely out of character and surprised her family and many of her close friends.
Several months later, something clicked. They became friends and started spending a lot of time together. Unfortunately, the timing was way off as Chelsea was leaving for college next week. The two sat on his porch swing for hours watching a storm the night before she left. They shared a hug, and called it a night.
While Chelsea was away, the two kept in touch via email. Jake took himself to the library and created an email address specifically for this purpose. Chelsea had been kind of in love with Jake since that Sunday in February, but maintained her cool and kept all of Jake’s words in her heart. He was a different person when he typed–the person Chelsea saw all along, but no one else could see.
Chelsea fell hard. Unfortunately, Jake didn’t. (Side note–Chelsea maintains that Jake was in love with her from the beginning but just didn’t want to admit it to anyone. To his defense, Chelsea is a whole lot of person, and it frequently takes time to fully appreciate her awesomeness.)
The next chapter is not fun or enjoyable. Chelsea had moved back to Minnesota and transferred schools. For several reasons, Chelsea and Jake were no longer on speaking terms. The two dated other people and continued being miserable for a year.
One Sunday at church, Chelsea noticed that Jake had arrived early for the past few weeks to listen to the choir of which she was a part. Every time she looked up, there he was, looking at her, and quickly away. Part of her was angry. Another part was intrigued–intrigue won out and she threw him a wink.
Ladies, never underestimate the power of a single wink.
After the wink, it went quickly. Chelsea set a rule that they could only see each other once per week to avoid past complications and heartache. That rule lasted approximately zero weeks. Things fell into place and the two were engaged in March of 2007.
They had a simple wedding and bailed on a reception for a “cash option” from Chelsea’s parents. They did, however, keep the important things and managed to have six cakes at the wedding. One of their original bonding points was their mutual love of cake.
Five years later, they are still enjoying wedded bliss–along with Jake’s daughter Aysia who lives with them part time and creates fun wherever she is. Chelsea is working on her law degree in Minnesota and Jake is just beginning medical school in Vermont. The two will be apart for about a year and a half, and look forward to being reunited in beautiful Burlington.
We both recognize that we have the rare opportunity for both of us to realize our dreams, and are not taking the gift lightly. The next year and a half will be rough, but sometimes you have to fight for what you want.