This story is about several life lessons that I have learned, from growing up and witnessing my mother’s intricate and complicated melody of a relationship, as a mistress. My mother fell hard in love with a married man, when I was about 5 or 6 years old. So, for 25 years, little did we know, that she would have taught me so many life lessons, that today, I deem valuable and priceless. This memoir is not sensationalizing the fact that my mother was in love with a married man. But it dives into what cultivated from that relationship.

This book is about all the lessons I’ve learned over the years. About adultery, about marriage, about family, about alcoholism, about honesty, about divorce, and ultimately about happiness. And choosing happiness before any of those things. About having a meaningful life, in spite of the lemons life can through at us. It’s about me, Jamilah, now, as a mother, as a wife and how all that I’ve seen has steered, guided and affected all my decisions in my life about men and about women.

So many people are in unhappy marriages, because they stay for the wrong reasons, and we don’t talk about it. They marry with wrong intentions, or confuse parenting skills and values, with that of marriage and what the institution of marriage means. I am writing this book, to spark the dialog about these topics.

As a little girl, I sat in the corner, and witnessed, what would become an amazing love story. A love that not many people in their lifetime will get to experience. The kind of love that makes you willing to risk it all. The struggles and sacrifices that become unimaginable to the average person. The risk and deceit that most folk wouldn’t even dream of. I struggled a lot with their relationship when I was younger, my mother and Wayne. I always said to mom: “I just want you to be happy” and my mother would always reply, “… but Jamilah, I am happy”. Today, I can understand that she truly was. The reality for me was that I despised their relationship so much, that I couldn’t see past the fact that he was ‘unhappily” married.

But the underlying reality for me was that I envied their relationship. I longed to have what they had. I wanted to experience the kind of love that they had for each other, I just could never admit that to anyone, not even myself. No, I never wanted to be anyone’s “mistress”, but I wanted to be loved the way this man loved my mother. I wanted to give love, and give myself and my heart, the way that my mother gave to him. But I was unwilling to be someone’s side piece, or so I thought that’s what my mother was. Little did I know then, and a lot that I’ve learned now. All that I saw and endured would be molding the future of my personal relationships, and the high standards and morals that my mother instilled in me as a young woman, even though I was Raised by the Mistress.