I'm really big on letting people I care about know when they've been missed. I think we all deserve a hero's welcome when we've been away from home. I'm glad you're back. I missed you. If feels nice to know that you matter to someone else, that your absence affected them in some way. It doesn't have to be fancy (although I'll never forget how special I felt when an old boyfriend picked me up at the airport with flowers). It just has to be sincere. I even let colleagues know I'm glad to have them back in the office. Think of the good vibes you get when dear pet greets you at the door, especially after you've had a shitty day.
For me welcoming someone home is right up there with wishing them on their birthday. A birthday wish says "I'm happy that you were born." I've taken it upon myself to wish all my friends, family and colleagues, regardless if they wish me. I suppose people figure that aging past certain milestones should not be celebrated. Not me. I hope the kids learn from my example. I know that tomorrow they will adorn their dad with hugs and kisses and that it will be straight from the heart. I can't wait to see it for myself.