My husband thought he was going for a bike ride... Got dressed, put on his shoes - and collapsed face down on the bed before he got anywhere near the door. Now that is tired!
DOES absence make the heart grow fonder? I don't know.
What I do know is that being away from the family I love makes me appreciate them all the more. A couple of days doesn't do it. For a couple of days, it's actually a relief to not have to worry about feeding people or pick towels up off the floor. My room is always neat and clean and orderly - even before the maid shows up. It's marvelous to be able to take long hot showers or baths without being concerned that there be enough left over for the next person to bathe. I always sleep like a log when I'm alone in a hotel room. There is no snoring or teeth grinding or falling out of bed; no yowling cats who demand to be let out or dogs anxiously poking you with wet noses because they need to go out.
There is a delicious freedom that comes from traveling alone. I can strike up conversations with anyone anywhere at anytime with no one to tap their watch or their feet to hurry me along. No one to balk at going to the bathroom alone or to tell to be quiet because the adults can't hear themselves think.
Even though I don't realize it at the time, I am always on alert at home. I probably always will be until my son is grown and gone on to his own life. I am the glue that holds my family sanely together, that keeps the schedules of who must be where and when, what day the dog gets the heartworm pill, when the cats need shots, what money needs to go to which bill, and I always seem to be the last person to see something that another person needs because I can almost always tell them where it is.
My husband is a wonderful man and a terrific father. He does a lot of cooking and cleaning and parenting with no urging/nagging from me. But everytime I leave for more than a couple of days on a business trip, he has to do it alone and realizes how exhausting it is to keep track of more than one life. I am always welcomed home with the open arms of my husband and shrieks of "Mommy!!!! You're finally HOME!" from my son. They miss me. They REALLY miss me.
And I really miss them.
So, does the heart really grow fonder with absence? Perhaps - but only if the fondness is always there with the presence too.