I'm going to call it a success. We just got back from a family vacation to the Grand Canyon and other fun spots in Arizona. I had fun, hubby had fun, even my teenage alien son had fun--at least he admitted enjoying a few things on the trip. But the real success was in the tiniest things. Said son voluntarily helped carry luggage on several occasions. He was overheard telling animated stories about our trip to friends on the phone (the one that has nearly become a part of his ear over the last year). He did cannonballs into the pool near my head. He helped us into and out of the boat.
And one moment I won't forget. We rode an old school bus back from the Colorado River rafting trip and the stars were more brilliant than I've seen them in years. Perfectly framed in our window was Cassiopia and I pointed the constellation out to him. He studied the stars for a minute, asked a question to confirm that he had identified the right 5 stars, and responded that he could see it. A few minutes later I commented on how brilliant the stars were there, in the desert--and his response was "Y'know mom, we could still drive back to that place [Lowell Observatory] and look through the telescope tonight."
Despite his teenage alien status, he had been listening--when we couldn't go viewing 3 nights prior because of the weather, and when we toured the Observatory the previous morning--and not only that, he realized I hadn't been able to do something I would have loved and he cared enough to offer to do it that night after a full day on the river.
Of our whole week, I think I'll remember that moment as the best.