Taking something – any lesson or advice – from the disappearance of Jessica Ridgeway (Denver Post articles, 9News info) is tough, but maybe not impossible. When the theater shootings happened, we had a post about how to talk to your kids – but at the time all the immediate answers were there, who did it, what happened, who was hurt, etc.

When Jessica Ridgeway disappeared, a lot of us hoped that she’d be found at a friends house, or would have wandered off, but a week later, I think most of us in our hearts know something bad happened – how bad, what and why still remain unanswered.

Jessica was taken just miles from our house – across a lake we walk around frequently. Her school feeds into the same high school my kids school does. Today our kids are wearing purple for Jessica. I hope it at least brings her family some comfort to see all of the support in our community.

This week has also been my daughter’s week away at Outdoor lab. They made the decision not to talk about the disappearance to the kids who are away from home for 5 days (which I think was very responsible) but it’s been rough – not being in contact for the first time ever with my 11 year old daughter for a week…and this week in particular.

So, as we sit here waiting for answers, with anxiety for our own kids safety growing, what can we do and what can we learn?

Well one of the first responses from our elementary school was a note from the principal reminding everyone to update their information with several phone numbers and emergency contacts. Jessica was missing for a while before they could reach her Mother because she works the graveyard shift and was asleep. While it’s not a time to point any fingers – I know all of us would like to know we could be reached immediately if there was a concern about our kids. So please make sure this information is updated with your school – and talk to them about their policies regarding how and when they contact you and the rest of your emergency list!

And do we panic – never let our kids do anything? Lenore Skenazy of Free Range Kids has her response here. But I have to tell you, it will be a while before I regroup and let my kids walk alone to the park…even with a cell phone.

Hug your kids. Our lives go on and I believe we have to live them fully and not in fear.

So what can we do for Jessica?  Right now they’re still distributing flyers (print attached here).  The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has good resources on how to keep your kids safe and what to do if your child is missing.

If you feel you or your kids need help dealing with this the crisis center Jeffco Mental Health & Jeffco Schools have established a crisis center at Wells Fargo Bldg 7878 N Wadsworth and they are open Saturday 10/13 10am to 4pm. Information on the crisis center is at http://www.jeffersonmentalhealth.org/ .