Newsday asked readers to post Instagram photos recently that illustrate the best Long Island life has to offer. This week we're telling their stories.
Martin Losco Jr. and his wife watch sunsets with their children.
Losco started the tradition because his own father, who drove a Coca-Cola truck, left the family's Westbury home at 5 a.m. on workdays and came back at bedtime, leaving limited time to spend with his son and daughter.
That absence created a void in a teenage boy who wanted more time with his dad.
So now, at least three times a week, Losco and his wife, Jennifer, carve out peaceful moments with their three children as the sun disappears on the horizon -- and create memories.
"No matter how stressful things can get, you can always find peace in sitting on the beach and enjoying a sunset," said Losco, 38, of West Babylon. "There is no one that can take that away."
The sunset-watching also was a way to find inexpensive activities for the kids -- Nicholas and Cameron, now 10 and 5. Jennifer, 36, was pregnant then with their third child -- Ryan, now 2.
It ensures his children never feel the ache he felt for his father, who worked long hours to support the family driving that truck to the Coca-Cola plant in the Bronx and delivering the products to Manhattan businesses.
"I never want that absence to be there," said Losco, an equipment operator with a sewer and drain company. "I never want to miss out on those gaps that my dad maybe missed out with me."
Martin Losco Sr., 62, used to take his son on his delivery routes, but their bond loosened during the boy's adolescent years. Losco Jr. said he never doubted his father loved him.
On his wedding day, Martin Losco Jr. said, his father said he was "proud of the man I had become." They grew closer after that, and the elder Losco now tries to spend more time with his grandchildren.
The Loscos go to South Shore beaches such as Robert Moses State Park in the fall and winter, and North Shore beaches -- Crab Meadow Beach in Northport is one -- in the late spring to summer to watch sunsets.
They find the right spot on the sand, sometimes with dunes in view. Nicholas and Cameron dip their feet in the water and take pictures.
Losco and his wife sit quietly as the waves crash.
"It's just a time to relax and enjoy everybody," said Jennifer, who left her job as a financial sales assistant with Capital One when Ryan was born to be a stay-at-home mother.
Losco hopes his children will continue to value such simple joys. "At the end of the day, whether I'm here or not, they'll have something to look back on," he said.
One day in July, the family went to Crab Meadow Beach. Minutes before sunset, Cameron asked if she could touch the sun.
With the sun in the background, Losco asked Cameron and Nicholas to hold hands. At just the right moment, he snapped a photo and shared it later on Instagram.
She got her wish.