Our 21-year-old daughter, Emma, is off having fun, and my wife is not happy.

“She should want to spend time with us,” my wife said last night.

And, of course, by “spend time with us,” my wife means that Emma should want to spend time with her.

When I pointed out to my wife that Emma has spent the past three weeks with “us,” my wife said, “So.”

As most veteran husbands know, it’s hard to respond to a well-said, “So.”

A well-said, “So,” from a veteran wife to a veteran husband is the equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ear and saying “NANANANANA, I can’t hear you.”

So when my wife issued her well-said, “So,” I moved on. And of course, when I say I “moved on,” what I mean is I got another beer from the refrigerator and went back outside.

Like most veteran husbands, I’ve discovered that the best answer to a well-said, “So,” from a veteran wife is to get another beer from the refrigerator and go back outside.

Relationships are all about learning to adapt.

Emma spent the past semester studying in Italy and in a week or so is set to leave to study in Copenhagen, Denmark, for about six weeks, so naturally, my wife thinks Emma should want to spend time with “us” (her) instead of having fun.

This may come as a shock to some of you who don’t remember what being 21 was like, but Emma is of the mind that she should be having fun instead of spending time with “us.”

Currently, Emma is in Kansas City spending time with friends from college. I’m not sure, exactly, what Emma is doing with her college friends in Kansas City, but I’m assuming that having fun is part of the what she’s doing.

Call it a hunch.

It’s also possible that Emma’s having fun is a way to put off the inevitable. In this case, the inevitable that Emma is putting off is the unpacking of her suitcase that she brought from back Italy.

Emma was supposed to unpack the suitcase last week, but somehow, having fun has managed to get in the way of the unpacking.

A few minutes ago, my wife walked into the room where I’m writing this to complain about Emma’s unpacked suitcase.

“I can’t believe she still hasn’t unpacked her suitcase,” my wife said. “When she gets back from Kansas City, I’m telling her she HAS to unpack.”

“But you haven’t unpacked the suitcase you brought back from Italy either,” I said.

“So,” my wife said.

Sigh. It was too early to grab a beer and go outside. Even for me.

I have faith that Emma will eventually unpack her suitcase. I think she’s putting it off because the thought of packing for six weeks in Copenhagen terrifies her. It’s not the trip that terrifies Emma, it’s the thought of trying to get six weeks of clothes in one suitcase. Granted, it’s a large suitcase, but still.

One of the many things that Emma learned during her semester in Italy was how to get the most out of her clothes. It’s not a lesson that she wanted to learn, nor is it one that she wants to repeat. But it’s something she knows she’ll have to do.

It would be like me having to learn how to get the most out of beer.

But you know what they say, “When the going get’s tough, the tough get beer.”

I think that’s what they say.

Emma is due home sometime this afternoon, and she’ll spend a few hours with “us,” then she and her friend Kelsey will go to Springfield to spend the night with their friend Katie, and my wife isn’t happy about that.

“They’ve been friends all their lives,” I said.

“So,” my wife said.

Sigh. Still too early for a beer.

Mike Pound is a columnist for The Joplin Globe.