Who Is Our Family?

“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof.” - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

We all have family, and I agree with Bach wholeheartedly. Those who we serve and give our love, joy and support to are our true families. My picture today is exactly who I think of when I think of my family. While I have so many more people in my life that I would include in this picture if possible, the core group of people who helped form, love and support me while I developed into the man that I am today are in this picture. Some gave to me as I grew up, while others continue to give to me today. Who are they?

My twin brother, I couldn’t imagine my life without him. He is and has been the most steadfast partner in all that I have done in my life. I am proud that Asao is my brother, he is honorable, compassionate and he looks like me! My mother is the loving center to whom I emulate each day. Her loving words echo in my heart and mind daily. My mother Dixie showed me what it meant to always know that I am loved. My mother never expected me to be anything other than who and what I wanted to be, and today I model myself as a father after the lessons of love that I received and continue to receive from her. My Stepfather Bill I include as well. He was the only fatherly figure that I have ever known. He showed me what being faithful to your family rally means. Through his recovery from alcoholism to the disabilities he struggled with as a child, Bill was my true father who loved me as his own and gave to me what he had all the days I knew him. My adopted brother William Casey Peterson or just Casey as I call him. I knew Casey’s mother in high school who wanted to give her expecting new child to a family who would love him because she could not. She chose our family because she knew my brother and I and thought highly of us in high school. Unfortunately, Casey grew up in a home by himself without my brother or myself. By the time he was old enough to remember anything, Asao and I were off in college starting our lives, but Casey was always such a sweet and loving child. He is loved as our true brother. 

There is also Shawna Kondo, my first wife (seen in this picture with me). Shawna has been and continues to be a loving force in my life. While our marriage ended almost 20 years ago, we have remained loving friends. Shawna believed in every crazy dream I have ever had, she truly has been one of the few people that really listens to me and who has consistently without fail supported my life with love and kindness. Years ago, when we were married, I promised her that no matter what I would always love her and help her no matter what. No matter what! And I intend to continue to keep that promise no matter what. Oh, and I can’t forget Kelly, my brothers wife of almost 30 years. While my brother and I have shared so much of our lives, we don’t share our wives LOL. But Kelly has been like a true sister to me. We often joke today that when she married my brother she really married both of us. But no matter how I explain it, she has treated me with love and she has always honored the relationship I have with my twin brother. And for these I am thankful and she will always have my respect and eternal love. She is a huge part of my family today without a doubt. 

We choose our families with our hearts, but we speak to each other with our actions. I think Bach would appreciate my family, because of all the core members of my family I only really grew up with 2 of them. The rest chose me with their love. Thank you to my family for loving me. I may be the captain of my ship of life, but I have a mighty crew to aid me! I love you all! We are love. We are joy. We are so very good.

About the author
Tad Inoue is an IFBB Professional League judge, Nutritionist and Professional Diet Coach for many clients and athletes worldwide. Tad has been in the bodybuilding and fitness industry for over 32 years and his clients include professional athletes, top amateur atheletes and all other competitors in figure, bikini, men and women's physique and bodybuilding, as well as individuals interested in optimal health. Tad was a National competitor in the NPC for over 30 years and now focuses his passion, knowledge and experience on helping and instructing others in fitness, wellness and athletic competition. His education includes philosophy, theology, nutrition, biochemistry as well as dietetics. He specializes in contest preparation for Figure, Bikini, men and women's Phyisque, Bodybuilding and fat loss for optimal health. Tad is also a speaker on mindfulness, motivation and joyful positive living.