Editor's note: Ace is blogging about being a dad trying to rebound from the coronaivrus pandemic at My Rebound by FOX 17. He desired for his son to feel both pride in and connection to his Filipino heritage, so he founded the Grand Rapids Asian-Pacific Festival in 2016. Also a banker, he recently resigned from his position – now staying full-time with his 6-year-old son. He and his wife, son and dog live in Plainfield Township.
I turned in my resignation on May 21, 2020. Yes, leaving a job in the time of a pandemic is insanity.
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Hello! My name is Ace Marasigan, a husband and father to our beloved 6-year-old-boy Redd. I hope to share my journey as a dad on a rebound, navigating through the pandemic, teaching Redd and working to find success.
I went back into banking in 2005 after trying a lot of different positions. Two weeks into my part-time role. I met my wife, Jackie. It was a weird moment. I wanted to talk to her every day, and at one time, I imagined what she would look like all grey-haired. That's when I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her.
Jackie inspired me to do more. I decided to deliver my best at work, even cleaning toilets if need be. Within six months of meeting Jackie the bank promoted me to a full-time position. Jackie and I married at the end of 2006. We shared many aspirations, and I remember sharing my dream of being the bank manager.
For me, it was out of reach, but she knew I could do it. My very focus was a good life for my wife, and Jackie cheered me on at every new opportunity. I worked from a teller to a personal banker, to a customer service manager and finally to a banking center manager.
In 2013, our ultimate blessing finally came. We waited before trying to conceive — again, I wanted to make sure we could provide for our child. I treasure the moment I first laid my eyes on Redd. I could not stop crying tears of joy. He was the most beautiful tiny thing that I had ever seen. He meant the whole world to us, and we wanted to be the very best for him.
The birth of our boy made us want to change our world around us, and inspired the Grand Rapids Asian-Pacific Festival (GRAPF) in 2016. We wanted Redd to learn about role models, develop his self-identity and freely celebrate who he is. Our first-ever GRAPF in 2017 was a success in terms of attendees. More importantly, Redd witnessed first-hand the beauty of diversity and the strength of a community coming together.
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Fast forward to 2020. School closes, day care closes. My wife is a passionate nurse — my definition of an essential worker. We were at a crossroads. So on March 23rd, I asked my employer for personal leave.
After five weeks, I ran out of vacation time and asked for additional time off, unpaid. We only have one child, and he’s our absolute priority. Then, another announcement extending the stay-at-home order. Another request for further time off.
Sixty days have passed. I love my bank, but Jackie and I eventually made the decision together to tender my resignation. It was a tough decision. Banking is what I do, but Redd and Jackie are my life. I will stay at home.