T’was the night before hockey, and all through the house, every creature was stirring, even the mouse – because somebody lost their shin pads sometime between last April and now.

Gone. Vanished. Poof. Disappeared.

My only logical answer is that somewhere in Wellington County, there is a mighty big raccoon traipsing around dressed like a defenceman and smelling of boy sweat. Gross.

Of course, the night before the first hockey practice is not the time to mention that none of this would have happened if things, such as shin pads and neck guards, were put away where they belong when the season ends. What a concept.

Little by little, the Carpenter’s garage search located the bits and pieces required to assemble a hockey player. Still no shin pads.

I hit the virtual contact list of the powerful Hockey Mom Network, (HMN). These women are resourceful, organized and they know where the hockey gear is in their homes because they can assemble a kid into gear while holding a latte cup in their teeth and texting their spouses in another arena at the same time (I may be exaggerating). Women in the HMN are gifted. Well, except me.

I decide since I am going to have to invest in a pair anyway, I will wake early on hockey day and hit the store on the edge of town that opens at 8am and get the boy sized, ready and still be to work on time. No problem. Sure.

In my defense, I did make it on time to work, however, my insistence to do so might have been part of the reason I flubbed the shin pad purchase. My mad dash that morning did not allow for the second cup of coffee that my brain requires.

Also, I forgot my spectacles required to read ridiculously small labels. Thus, I could not read the size chart or the impossible text that indicated which shin pads were junior or senior sizes. They all looked the same to me.

My son started trying on gear and I assumed, given this was his fourth year in the sport, he knew what fits. I had no clue. I don’t dare try to dress a kid for hockey. I tried, once. I got to tape my kid into his shin pads and bound him up so tight he couldn’t bend to adjust his skates. I was so sure that somebody would report me to the cops I fled the dressing room.

I could envision the letters to the editor: “That lady who writes in the newspaper is so mean to her kids…”

This time, I was going to get it right. I pointed to a pair of shiny white pads with lime green threading and black patches. Cool. They reminded me of stormtroopers in Star Wars (totally dating myself). They were on sale. Bargain, baby.

Ten minutes later, the shin pads and happy child were dropped off and I was on my way to the office, overly confident of my hockey mom skills.

Eight hours later, with my son in tow, I returned the senior stormtrooper pads for a junior size. The Carpenter laughed  – carefully.

As we left the store, my son innocently said: “I should have brought my skates. They need to be sharpened.”

I can’t believe I am going to say this, but I miss lacrosse.