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Absence has made the heart grow fonder for Tom Brady.

This is true in the case of football, in which the last full game the star QB played was a stunning, completely awesome loss to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII.

More importantly, it is true when it comes to fatherhood.

The New England Patriots quarterback is sharing custody of his 1½-year-old son John Edward Thomas with his ex, Bridget Moynahan, and says that arrangement makes the limited time with his young son all that much more important.

“I don’t see him every day, and we play when I change his diaper: lifting his leg up, playing with his toes, biting his feet,” Tom Brady tells Sports Illustrated.

“There’s a different appreciation. If you had him every day, you’d go, ‘Let’s just get this done.’ But, say, one week a month, you’re like, ‘This is so cool!'”

Brady, who is rumored to have gotten his new wife Gisele Bundchen pregnant already, says he also missed football when he was recovering from a knee injury.

“When I was playing every week, I bitched about the little things,” says Brady. “Like, God, we’ve got to go outside today? It’s raining! … Or, why do we have a meeting at 7:30 to talk about everything we’ve already talked about? Geez!”

“When you’re not playing, you realize you would [gladly] do any of that.”

As for his future, Tom Brady says his goals are simple: Play football the best he can, see Gisele Bundchen nude, spend time with his son and enjoy life.

Okay, we paraphrased that quote, but we doubt it’s incorrect.