Tom Brady Cherishes Time with His Son

05/26/2009 at 03:35 PM EDT

Tom Brady Cherishes Time with His Son
Tom Brady

Tom Brady

Tom Brady

For Tom Brady it seems that absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

The football star shares custody of his 1½-year-old son John Edward Thomas with ex, Bridget Moynahan – but he says that arrangement makes the time with his boy even 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," the New England Patriots quarterback tells Sports Illustrated in its June 1, issue on newsstands Wednesday. "There's a different appreciation. If you had him every day, you'd go, 'Let's just get this done.' But when you get him, say, one week a month, you're like, 'This is so cool!' "

Brady, who married Gisele Bündchen in February, says he also missed football when he was out 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! Then when you're not playing, you realize that you would [gladly] do any of that."

As for his future, Brady says his goals are simple: "I want to play this game I love, be with my wife and son and enjoy life."

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