Farm story does parenting

Having children, it seems to me, is a golden opportunity to experience a constant sense of pride, freedom and downright celebration of accomplishment.

That’s right, and allow me to explain while those without roar off to procreate.

Before kids, were you a bit of an over-achiever? Doing things one after another? Active, intellectual and well-read? Did you throw in the odd marathon or volunteer stint to top up the accomplishment account? Now with kids, you can feel the same sense of accomplishment and even pride when you fold the laundry, set the table AND reply to a work email all in one afternoon. No more need to break a sweat in pursuit of that elusive sense of accomplishment.

Did it used to be that a sense of freedom came high in the alpine meadows, or days into long bike trips? Well with a child in tow, you can feel free as a bird when you manage the 2 block walk to the grocery store in less than 45 minutes and without having to call for a ride.

Perhaps you previously admired from afar the accomplishments of celebrated authors, athletes and TED Talkers, never expecting to socialize with such eminence. Now, as a parent, you can be speechless with amazement when your very own youngster makes it to the toilet in time, picks up a toy without being asked, or eats almost half of dinner including 3 bites of vegetables without you having to load up the fork more than a few times. Imagine how overcome with admiration at their capacity for learning you will be when they can put on their own socks! Wipe their own bum!! Read!!! You may even post it on Facebook.

We watch the childless among us strive and strain to impossible heights while we parents are living the dream, experiencing triumph in simple and everyday occurrences while barely needing to leave the house except for work or children’s activities.

And furthermore, is it not true that the frequent opportunities to offer meaningful and heartfelt positive feedback have enriched an otherwise mundane existence? Now we get to exclaim “good job” to all these things that before would never have merited a second glance. In fact, you quite possibly didn’t even know they were accomplishments. Managed the stairs without pitching down them head-first? Nice work. Turned off the iPad without hysterical protest? Awesome. Undid seatbelt? Yay, you are the best!

You see? Parenting is very satisfying, gratifying and perspective making.

But I digress.

I was intending to write about the organic farm certification process, which is most emphatically not satisfying or gratifying and in fact was the propellant that sent my rocket ship of sarcasm shooting into sardonic space and caused the preceding paragraphs. I couldn’t very well unleash on the actual certification forms, obviously.

This year the questionnaire is 20 pages long. After we fill everything out and attach our various process diagrams, field history charts, equipment lists, water test results, and maps, we’ll be well on our way to 30. After this initial step in the process, we’ll write a fat check in the thousands of dollars to cover the subsequent costs of review and inspection.

I have issues with the amount of time and effort required to fill out the forms. I have issues with the standards themselves that seem so constantly under review and revision. I have issues with the provincial government claiming to protect the “organic” brand but not prohibiting you or anyone else from just whacking the word “organic” into your farm name, certified or not. I take issue with the fact that chemically supported produce doesn’t require any special labelling.

But we have been doing this for a long time. We think it might be the right thing to do.

And in time, the job will get done.

Anna Helmer is fully cognizant of the fact that life is really about more than just the Whistler Women’s League hockey playoffs.

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